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Friday, February 24, 2012

Meanwhile in New Hampshire

Posted by Dan Savage on Fri, Feb 24, 2012 at 9:44 AM

You know... for years I wrote "Straight Rights Watch" items in "Savage Love." I tried to warn straight people that the anti-gay right had an anti-straight agenda too. And here we are:

New Hampshire, one of the least religious states in the nation, has become the latest front in the political battle over contraception. State GOP leaders oppose the new federal rule compelling insurers to provide birth control to employees of religious organizations. They want to change a 12-year-old state law that requires contraceptive coverage under insurers' prescription drug policies.... New Hampshire has required contraceptive coverage in all prescription drug plans since 2000. The law was passed by a Republican Legislature and signed by a Democratic governor. And nobody at the time, it seems, saw the policy as a blow against religious liberty....

The [New Hampshire] diocese isn't itself directly affected by the contraception mandate because it, like the state's largest catholic hospital, has chosen to self-insure. But if the church gets its way, contraceptive-free insurance may soon be widely available on the open market. "I ask that all of our people of good will support that which is in the best interest of that which gives life, that which sustains life," Bishop Peter Libasci said during a recent news conference. The diocese helped draft the bill, which would free any employer [to deny contraception coverage], be it an auto repair shop or a metaphysical bookstore, with a religious objection to birth control.

So much for the separation of church and state. In New Hampshire the Catholic church is drafting legislation that will make it harder for women—Catholic or not—to obtain and use contraception.

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