Regarding "The right compromise" [Editorial, Feb. 13], Catholic bishops have rejected President Barack Obama's policy change and with good reason. Under this poorly conceived compromise, the Catholic Church becomes an "enabler" merely by having health coverage for its employees.
The group medical plan may exclude coverage for contraceptives, but the mere fact that the church provides health coverage enables employees to obtain contraceptives, with the cost for coverage spread throughout the insurance carrier's book of business. The only way the church can avoid becoming an enabler would be to terminate group health coverage altogether.
I am a Catholic and I disagree with the church's position on contraceptives. But infringing on freedom of religion in this manner is not a workable compromise.
Kenneth Heard, Smithtown
Kudos to Obama for holding true to health reform's promise to improve access to preventive care, including birth control, and to Newsday for finally applauding a commonsense policy long supported by a majority of all faiths.
Wouldn't it be nice if we could now move on to address critical issues, like jobs and the economy, secure in the knowledge that a woman will be able to protect her health and exercise her own conscience about birth control, without her employer standing in the way?
So, it's up to us to keep sending a clear message that the voters of New York will not stand with politicians who fail to stand up for the 99 percent of women -- including the 98 percent of American Catholic women -- who use contraception and deserve to be able to make the health decisions that are best for them and their families.
Andrea Miller, Manhattan
Editor's note: The writer is president of NARAL Pro-Choice New York.
Newsday believes that the Obama administration has made a legitimate compromise that should put the issue at rest. Unfortunately for the administration, that is not true. Not only are many religious leaders and people of faith skeptical of where the backtracking has led, but they also are convinced that this administration is bent on diminishing religious liberty in the service of expanded governmental secularism.
A glaring example was on Jan. 11, when the Supreme Court severely rebuked the administration, in a 9-0 vote in the Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church case, when it mistakenly maintained that the Constitution gives institutions no protection in choosing their faith leaders. One need not have close religious ties to demand respect for the Constitution.
Walter McCarthy, Massapequa
Newsday cartoonist Walt Handelsman drew a cartoon of President Obama, showing him with two black eyes, saying, "I see the birth control mandate differently now [Feb. 12]."
Well, I see the president differently now. I see him as caving in to pressure from the Catholic Church, which does not even want birth control available to persons not of the Catholic faith. In fact, the church appears not to want it for any person whatsoever.
Apparently, the president is afraid to alienate any voters. Well, in making this decision, he's lost my vote.
Robert Bruce, Douglaston
There are many religions in this world where divergent acts of worship are practiced: polygamy, child marriages, enslavement of women, animal sacrifices, mutations, incest and the stoning of adultresses. However, these religions cannot force others of a different faith to accept them.
These practices are forbidden in the United States by federal and state laws. We expect our government to enforce these laws.
There are opposing sides on a birth control issue. A religious group considers it to be contrary to its doctrine, while others consider it to be a matter of equality for women.
Whatever the final outcome of this disagreement, we must not allow any religion to dictate what our citizens must accept. If one group is given the privilege to disregard a regulation, it opens the way for other organizations to do the same.
Anthony Mignone, Massapequa Park