Nadler: We Must Protect Women’s Health

The following is a press release from the office of U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler:

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Last night on the House floor, Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), the Ranking Member of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, spoke out in strong support of the Obama Administration’s recent ruling on birth control – that contraceptives must be available at no cost to most American women, regardless of where they work.

“I am proud to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with President Obama and his Administration for helping to strike this important balance between religious rights and women’s health,” said Nadler.  “This decision is a major victory for women.  Particularly at this time of economic uncertainty, women will have one less cost to worry about….The decision also recognizes and supports religious freedom by providing certain limited exceptions for places of worship, as well as those organizations that hire and serve predominantly those who all share the same religious beliefs.  They all are protected from going against their religious teachings.”

The following is the text of Nadler’s remarks, as prepared:

“As we all know, HHS recently announced that a popular and critically important component of the health care reform law would indeed guarantee that the most women have access to no-cost contraceptives.  This decision was based on the sound science of the impartial and independent Institute of Medicine and other experts, and will ensure that contraceptives will now be recognized as an essential health service fundamental to improving the lives of women and families.

“This decision is a major victory for women.  Particularly at this time of economic uncertainty, women will have one less cost to worry about.  Make no mistake about it – freeing up a few hundred dollars a year will have significant effects on working families.  The decision also recognizes and supports religious freedom by providing certain limited exceptions for places of worship, as well as those organizations that hire and serve predominantly those who all share the same religious beliefs.  They all are protected from going against their religious teachings.

“I am proud to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with President Obama and his Administration for helping to strike this important balance between religious rights and women’s health.

“Yet, to hear some people talk about this decision, you’d have no idea that the rights of the religiously devout are protected.  Instead, these fact-challenged alarmists have sounded the bell.  Instead, we’re sold fantasies about an erosion of the wall between church and state.  Instead, we’re told tall tales of how the Obama Administration has impinged on the morality of corporations, as if such a thing was possible.

“Mr. Speaker, that’s ludicrous, and it’s offensive.

“Amid all the hyperbole, the truth is that the Administration’s decision, while significant and important, is hardly new.  This measured approach that balances religious rights, on the one hand, and the rights of women, on the other, is already the standard in a number of states, including my home state of New York.  Because it’s not just employers and corporations that have rights at stake; hard-working people and their families also have rights.

“Under the approach adopted by the Administration, universities and hospitals, which serve and employ people from a multitude of faiths and cultures, are not exempt.  Nor should they be.  Women should not be denied a basic health service merely because of where she works or where she studies.

“It is important to note that nothing in the Administration’s decision requires anyone to take contraception.  Nothing requires anyone to urge anyone to take contraception.  The only thing required is that this health service be available so that an individual woman can make a health decision based on her own conscience.

“While perhaps a radical concept for some, this is right.  And it’s fair.”

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