To the Editor:
While I appreciate aspects of the Affordable Care Act, such as an end to barring coverage to applicants with pre-existing conditions or discriminating on the basis of gender, I remain very concerned with the mandate forcing religious-based organizations to provide contraception. The Administration has proposed amending the current mandate but problems remain. Insurance companies will simply fold the cost of contraception into the premium. This creates a dangerous precedent for the federal government to reach into the internal affairs of religious institutions and restructure the terms of employment and change religious employers from workplaces and ministries to ones that are indistinguishable from any other institution. I support the teachings of the Catholic Church on contraception, but even if you hold a different view on this issue, you should be upset at the federal government's attempt to dictate a specific type of behavior to religious institutions -- something the government is constitutionally forbidden from doing. In particular, I worry that this most recent attack on religious freedom has been launched in the name of women's equality. As a woman of faith, I am writing this letter to give voice to many of my sisters who share the view that the federal government should not involve itself in the inner workings of religious-based organizations. I invite other women to join me in stressing to our elected representatives in Washington the importance of preserving religious freedom.
(signed)?Mary Ellen Leners
National Council of Catholic Women www.nccw.org