I’m getting a fair amount of letters on President Obama’s new rule requiring religiously affiliated employers — not churches themselves — to offer insurance coverage for certain preventive health services for women, including contraceptives.
Mail to the ombudsman is running about 3 to 2 saying The Post is covering this issue too much from the Catholic and religious-freedom point of view, and as a political issue, and not from the more practical view of women and non-Catholics who work for religious or Catholic institutions.
Regardless of how you feel about the principle of the issue, I’m with the majority in the coverage of it.
I haven’t seen a Post reporter take a cab or a bus or a Metro ride to the large Catholic employers in this area and ask employees there what they think of the new rule.
There is no way that you can tell me that all of the people working at the Catholic University of America, Catholic Charities, Georgetown Law School, Georgetown University, Medstar Georgetown University Hospital or Holy Cross Hospital are Catholics. In fact, I know they’re not. I have friends at some of these institutions who I know are not.
Nor can you tell me they wouldn’t like their employers to offer insurance coverage for birth control pills, sterilization or the morning-after pill. Or, alternatively, maybe these employees don’t care that much and they use their spouse’s insurance instead.
Nor can you tell me that some significant portion of Catholic women working at these institutions don’t use birth control or wouldn’t want such coverage either. Now, I’m sure there are Catholic women who do follow the church’s teachings who would not want such coverage. Fine. But I’ll bet they’re in the minority.
Going back through Nexis and Post archives to when the new rule was announced last August, I couldn’t find any story with Post reporters asking employees these questions.
I know that The Post is preparing a story on the variety in insurance coverage for these services provided by religious employers around the country. That will help.
But in looking up recent coverage of this issue in The Post, there is a distinct scarcity of news stories about it and a distinct plethora of opinion pieces and blog posts.
On Faith, The Post’s religion blog, has had all manner of clergy and thinkers commenting on it for weeks. The political blogs have had all sorts of takes on how it might affect the presidential horse race and hurt or help Obama politically. The op-ed pages and opinion blogs have had their writers declare upon it.
But what do people who work for religious institutions and who are not of the denomination of their employers — and for whom this rule change was intended — think about it? We’re talking thousands of such employees right here in this city and region.
I can speculate what they might think of it based on the feedback of the handful of people who I know that work at these institutions and on my reader e-mail, but I don’t actually know.
That’s because The Post hasn’t done the reporting. Is this really so hard to do?
Wouldn’t such a story be interesting reading and actually tell us about people at whom this law is directed?