Outside the box: Sex and this city

Someone on Capitol Hill is finally willing to fight-and has been for several years-to show Utah that it is forcing women to pay a price for their rights.

State Senator Paula Julander hopes that her “pill bill,” which will allow health insurers and HMOs to cover contraceptives, will see some productive debate during this legislative session.

In an article Jan. 25, The Salt Lake Tribune blamed Julander’s several-year battle on Utah’s “predominantly LDS Legislature,” claiming it has “shied from any legislation seen as promoting contraception.”

Women have struggled for control over their own reproductive systems for as long as sex itself has been around. LDS legislators, as part of the most powerful organization in Utah, are responsible for working toward a solution, especially since Julander’s bill allows churches and other organizations to opt out of contraceptive coverage.

The opt-out clause means that the church doesn’t have to provide coverage to its members. Because of this, legislators have no excuse to reject the bill-they would be doing what Julander so aptly included in the bill’s name: discriminating. They would be forcing groups outside the church to adhere to the same moral beliefs and religious doctrine that its members follow.

The morality of pregnancy prevention should not be a factor in the ultimate decision of whether to pass the bill. Legally, women have the right to use contraceptives; anyone withholding insurance coverage is privileging moral beliefs over the law.

By keeping contraceptives difficult and costly to obtain, legislators are attempting to deter people from practicing anything not endorsed by the LDS religion. This also means that legislators are first and foremost acting as members of a religious organization, not as public servants.

Legislators are responsible for finding a solution in order to prove to their constituents that there is a separation between church and state. Supporting the bill wouldn’t affect the church-its members don’t receive coverage now, and they wouldn’t if the bill passed.

However, supporting the bill would put an end to the discrimination women face when trying to make decisions about their own bodies, and it would mean that groups outside the LDS church would be granted rights that are long overdue.

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