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State of the Debate
George Pyle
George Pyle has been a newspaper writer in Kansas, Utah, Upstate New York, and now Utah again, for more than 30 years - most of it as an editorial writer and columnist. Now on his second tour of duty on The Salt Lake Tribune Editorial Board, he has also done a stretch as a talk radio host, published a book on the ongoing flaws of U.S.agricultural policy and, in 1998, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Writing. His most active bookmarks are Andrew Sullivan, Christopher Hitchens and Tina Brown. And he still thinks the Internet can be used for intelligent conversation and uplifting ideas.

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Archbishop of New York, Timothy Dolan, gestures during an interview at the North American College in Rome, Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2012. The top U.S. bishop has vowed legislative and court challenges to President Barack Obama's compromise on exempting religiously affiliated employers from paying directly for birth control for their workers. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
Editorials/commentary: The president and the pill ...

Anybody who believes in anything likely has some of their tax money put to some use that they object to, or would if they thought about it. Weapons or welfare. Death row or day care. And the fact that all employer-provided health insurance gets a tax break means all taxpayers, even the ones who don't believe in contraception, have been paying for it for a long time.

- Modern medicine: Basic health includes contraceptives - Salt Lake Tribune Editorial

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Universal access to contraception is, or should be, as much a part of basic health care as routine inoculations, antibiotics and blood transfusions. Those who object to that concept do not stand up for freedom of conscience so much as they demonstrate just how removed they are from the real world.

But because Republicans in Congress smell a good wedge issue, and because the American Catholic hierarchy is perceived to be politically powerful, the Obama administration last week was forced to do an embarrassing dodge and weave on its rules for how contraception will be covered by all employer-provided health care plans under the new Affordable Care Act.

The religious issue has been the focus of news coverage and commentary. But the real lesson to be drawn here is that this nation’s unique mistake of tying health care to employment remains a bad idea and why real health reform won’t come without a progression to single-payer, or at least a robust public option. If we had made that decision when the rest of the civilized world did, or when the issue was last before the Congress, this whole fuss would have been avoided. ...

- Tinkering with conscience - Deseret News Editorial

... But this latest controversy over the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is not a marginal, technical issue that is resolved with technocratic tinkering. Instead, it reveals precisely the kind of conflict created when top-down government mandates are forced upon civil society. ...

- A compromise on contraception - Denver Post Editorial

You can call President Obama's very public retreat on contraception and religious rights a compromise or a surrender. But, however you frame it, the important thing is that the president ended up doing the right thing....

- Women's health takes another political hit - San Jose Mercury News Editorial

Twenty-eight states, including California, require contraception to be covered by health insurance. Nearly every European nation -- including Italy -- requires contraception to be covered by health insurance.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops knows this. So do the Republican presidential candidates making this women's health issue a political pawn. And so does President Barack Obama, who should not have caved to the bishops and exempted the Catholic Church from having to provide contraception coverage for employees at its nonprofit institutions. ...

- Obama's contraception compromise - Los Angeles Times Editorial

... The continued wrangling between the Obama administration and the Roman Catholic Church over federally mandated insurance coverage for family planning services illustrates another reason why employer-provided health insurance is a less than optimal model. It seems wrong to require employers to provide coverage they find morally reprehensible, but equally wrong to let them make moral decisions for employees. ...

- Religious groups should have seen Obamacare betrayal coming - Orange County Register Editorial

... Unfortunately, many, including Catholic organizations, paved the way for such government intrusion with years of support for the ever-expanding role of Washington in private matters under the guise of doing good. Now they are learning at what cost. ...

- Beyond pelvic politics - Nicholas D. Kristof, The New York Times

... birth control is not a frill that can be lightly dropped to avoid offending bishops. Coverage for contraception should be a pillar of our public health policy — and, it seems to me, of any faith-based effort to be our brother’s keeper, or our sister’s. ..

- Kristof gives some space to those who disagree with him on his Facebook page.

- Obama’s epic blunder on birth-control mandate - Michael Gerson, The Washington Post

... Instead of being forced to buy an insurance product that violates their beliefs, religious institutions will be forced to buy an insurance product that contributes to the profits and viability of a company that is federally mandated to violate their beliefs. Creative accounting, it seems, can cover a multitude of sins. ...



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