I am exasperated with the birth control debate.

I don’t even really like calling it that because it seems inaccurate. What exactly is being debated?

Religious rights, women’s rights, health, traditions, government intervention and economics. These are really at the heart of this debate.

Religious organizations that provide health insurance to their employees are incensed that under Obama’s new health law they would be required to offer coverage for family planning. Being raised Catholic, I understand that you say “family planning,” and everyone instantly cries, “No! The pill is evil!”

First, the pill is not evil. In fact, its uses for health purposes extend far beyond the primary use as a contraceptive because it is simply a concoction of hormones in pill form.

Second, family planning isn’t just the pill. It also includes things like helping women with fertility issues and sex education.

Saying this shouldn’t be a requirement because the pill can be used for stopping unintended pregnancies is like saying Planned Parenthood should be completely defunded because some of their branches offer abortion services. Contrary to popular belief, not all Planned Parenthood offices offer abortions. Mind blown?

The other problem with this debate is that religious organizations are trying to say they don’t want to do it because this is an attack on religious freedom, protected by the first amendment. How about women’s rights which are protected by morals?

There is a plethora of studies showing that one of the leading factors in gender equality and the economic well-being of a country is the ability of women to control their reproduction. The other leading factor is education. Both of these show a correlation to improvements in children’s and women’s health.

This isn’t a religious issue. And although I’ve made a couple of arguments for women’s rights—I’m female, sue me—that’s not really what the issue is here, either. Ultimately, it’s a public health issue.

There is one other thing that bothers me about this whole debate: where’s the compromise? Where is the good will showing that we as a people are ready to accept other ways of being?

I understand the Church’s desire not to support birth control. It is against the tenants of the Catholic faith, and although I disagree with it, I respect the right of other Catholics to believe in it wholeheartedly. That said, I can’t believe that all the employees of Catholic universities and hospitals are also of the Catholic faith. What about their rights?

In arguing government intervention, what about church intervention? Really it’s just trading one institution’s dogma for another.

Here’s my suggestion: stop bickering. I believe that Catholic organizations should have to offer the family planning, but that doesn’t mean the employees have to accept it. This should be a personal choice; it shouldn’t be forced on anyone by any institution, governmental or religious.

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