Lillian Tamayo: Birth control is health care


Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in a pair of cases that challenge the birth control benefit — Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores Inc. and Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp. v. Sebelius. In each of these cases, employers at for-profit corporations want to deny their employees legally mandated insurance coverage for birth control, based on the bosses’ personal religious beliefs.

In a column that appeared in The Palm Beach Post (“God and Caesar (again),” March 29), Cal Thomas suggested that the state is seeking “to impose its will on people of faith” — grounds for the high court to rule against insurance coverage for birth control. Thomas went so far as to suggest that employers like Hobby Lobby could just drop insurance coverage for their employees and give employees a raise so they could buy their own health insurance.

Thomas and other critics of birth control coverage have it all wrong. In their rush to force the religious beliefs of bosses on workers, they fail to acknowledge the rights of female employees and the realities of their lives.

At Planned Parenthood of South Florida and the Treasure Coast, we know firsthand why this case matters so much. Planned Parenthood health care providers across the country see the benefits of affordable birth control every day. We also hear from women who are forced to choose between groceries or filling their prescription – between paying rent or choosing the form of birth control that’s right for them.

Birth control is only a “social issue” if you’ve never had to pay for it.

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