Tag: planned parenthood

The 8 IDC = LIARS

The IDC* Mantra: When all else fails, LIE
(Sounds like Trump, doesn’t it?)

Clearly Choice Matters’ expose of the IDC’s anti-choice actions as well as their tactics of obstruction of all progressive legislation is taking its toll. 

They just sent out a mailing  implying that their 8 rogue members were endorsed by Planned Parenthood — NOT!

The truth is:
1. Planned Parenthood had nothing to do with the mailer.
2. The 8 IDC members stopped the Reproductive Health Act & the Comprehensive Contraception Coverage Act from coming to the floor for a vote.
3. The  IDC members did nothing to advance the Reproductive Health Act and Comprehensive Contraception Coverage Act to the floor, despite these bills having bipartisan sponsorship and support – BUT the mailer falsely implies that IDC members successfully passed both bills.
4. In addition, the IDC members REFUSED to support a bill that would have provided contingency funding to Planned Parenthood.

Call All 8 IDC members & tell them to stop lying!  
Click 8 NYS Democrats for their names & telephone numbers!

fyi: The IDC  is blocking all progressive legislation including the Reproductive Health Act, Comprehensive Contraceptive Coverage Act, and  Contingency funding for Planned Parenthood from coming to the floor of the NYS Senate, INCLUDING a New York State bill that would force Trump to disclose his taxes.

IDC Members Vote “NO” to Planned Parenthood Funding

 

On April 4, 2017, NYS Senator Persaud introduced an amendment to the NYS budget that proposed emergency funding for Planned Parenthood if and when the federal government cut funding to the organization.

In her comments, Senator Persaud detailed the need for the services and the people who rely on them.

All 8 IDC members voted against the amendment to fund Planned Parenthood.

What does that mean? It means that they – joining forces with the Republicans – voted to deny women necessary healthcare services.

All 8 IDC members voted against women of all colors; against women of all ages; women of all religious affiliations; against women of all ethnicities – they voted against all women.

The IDC members clearly displayed their total disregard for the women of New York State!

** 8 NYS Democrats, who comprise the IDC (the so-called Independent Democratic Conference), have aligned themselves with the Republican Party of Trump, and govern with them. They have deliberately turned the duly elected Majority Party, the Democratic Party, into the Minority Party, and have catapulted the Party of Trump, the Republican Party, into the majority. No progressive legislation can come to the floor of the Senate until these 8 return to the Democratic Caucus, or are replaced.

The On-Going Attacks on Planned Parenthood

To anti-choice extremists. Planned Parenthood is the symbol of women’s reproductive freedom, which to them is unbearable.

In July, anti-choice zealots launched their war on women with a guerrilla-style attack on Planned Parenthood. Seemingly out of nowhere they hurled heavily edited videos at the media, that supposedly showed Planned Parenthood officials discussing the sale of fetal tissue for a profit. When the whole video was examined, however, the truth came out. It became clear that the real conversation being had was actually a discussion of legal forms of fetal tissue donation.

Unfortunately, it did not matter that the producers of the altered videos all had suspicious credentials and belonged to the anti-abortion group The Center for Medical Progress (CMP)—led by 26-year-old activist David Daleiden who has a murky past at best. The feeding frenzy had begun.

“Roll Call found that some House Republicans had seen the videos weeks before they were released to the public without making any public comment, suggesting some degree of private coordination between the CMP and the GOP.” The Daily Beast

Despite the stench of fraud surrounding these altered videos, the federal government and some states began probes into Planned Parenthood.

In August, Georgia, Indiana, Massachusetts, and South Dakota completed their probes and cleared Planned Parenthood of any alleged wrongdoing; and governors in Washington, New York, New Hampshire, Minnesota, Idaho, and Virginia have rejected calls for probes in their own states.

In addition, the attempt to get the Federal Government to defund Planned Parenthood failed-but only by seven votes in the Senate. That’s why they think they can make it happen this time around.

Anti-Choice Extremists have been Very Successful this Summer:
► Five (5) states – Alabama, Utah, Arkansas, Louisiana, and New Hampshire – have all defunded Planned Parenthood and other states are working toward the same end.
â–º There has been a dramatic increase in violence, including arson, against Planned Parenthood clinics around the country as a result of the hateful and false rhetoric spread by anti-choice legislators and activists.
â–ºThese anti-choice activists gained traction with candidates in search of an electoral base. They demand that their candidates staunchly oppose women and our right to comprehensive reproductive health care including abortion and contraception

Republican presidential candidates have weighed in:

● All of the candidates are on the record as opposing abortion, and want to ban it.

  • Some want to ban abortion even in cases of rape, incest, or to save the life of the woman.
  • Mike Huckabee has said he would not rule out using the military to end abortion, and recently stated, as if to prove him point, that he would support denying an abortion to a 10-year-old rape victim.
  • They have all vowed to defund Planned Parenthood.
  • Jeb Bush is famously on the record for saying “[He’s] not sure we need half a billion dollars for women’s health issues”

► These extremists have also aided in the rise of severe abortion restrictions including Ohio’s new one, HB 131, which will make it a felony to perform an abortion based on a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome. As a candidate competing for the GOP presidential nomination, Gov. John Kasich will sign it into law. This law holds the doctor liable!

2013 – What Lies Ahead

Wow, what a year 2012 has been. On the one hand, we had pro-choice victories across the country and in New York, with women’s rights candidates winning big. More women will serve in the US Senate in 2013 than ever before. You did this. We did this together.

But on the other hand, there was no time to enjoy our victories. With the elections barely over, zealots in Michigan and Ohio slashed access to birth control and abortion, and passed some of the harshest anti-choice legislation in the country.

Those actions were taken on a state level. On a local level, our rights are also far from safe.

Right here in Westchester County, we are facing very strong opposition to safe, comprehensive health care. Westchester’s local county government is headed by an anti-choice extremist who supports every anti-woman, anti-family idea voiced by former vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan. Westchester’s own County Executive opposes abortion in cases of rape, incest or to save the life of the woman.

This County Executive has a great deal of power to adversely impact women’s health care – and he’s determined to do just that. He has already vetoed a bill that would have allowed women the most basic of rights – safe access to reproductive health centers – all of this while cutting funding for childcare, food pantries, afterschool programs, health centers, and much more. (Click here to read Westchester Budget Neglects County’s Most Vulnerable Residents by Rev. Noelle Damico, member of the United Church of Christ Metro Association.)

Take a good look at these budget cuts. They all directly and adversely impact women and the way we can care for ourselves and our families. These cuts are being made by an ideologue, and his cohorts, who claims to care about the fetus, but clearly spurns the child and the woman who raises it.

Unfortunately, County Executive Astorino and his gang of nine have brought the war on women home to Westchester.

We must organize our outrage and prepare now for the 2013 elections. We cannot go backwards again.

This is why I am asking you to make a special end-of-year contribution today. With your support, we will continue to move Westchester, New York, and our nation forward.

Please contribute for our critically needed work in 2013.

WCLA – Choice Matters together with our WCLA PAC are your local pro-choice advocacy organization. We protect women’s rights locally, state-wide, and nationally by making sure we elect pro-choice candidates who will fight for us. Choice Matters and WCLA PAC are the oldest and the only local organizations that send you a voting guide and tell it like it is.

We need your help.
Please, consider contributing today.
Thank you.

Seemingly Insurmountable Challenges, Our Unprecedented Victories & the On-going War on Women

Why, after electing a pro-choice president to a second term, increasing the number of pro-choice elected officials in Congress and in Albany, and electing an historic number of pro-choice women to office in Washington, does it still feel like 1965?

Despite predictions to the contrary, the economy was not the only issue considered by voters on Election Day. Women’s rights were front and center in our minds. For the past decade, the electorate has been confronted by a real war on women, one that has truly impacted our economic independence and our rights. Unbelievably, we are once again negotiating the terms by which women are allowed access to contraceptives, not to mention abortion. Not since the Griswold v. Connecticut decision (1965), in which the Supreme Court ruled that states cannot deny married couples* access to contraception, have we been subject to such an invasion of our “right to privacy”, a right the High Court found within the U.S. Constitution. This was the first presidential election in U.S. history that determined whether access to contraception would be significantly increased or dramatically decreased. On Tuesday, November 6th, we used our ballots to respond.

Our support for pro-choice candidates resulted in unprecedented victories. We elected our endorsed candidates at all levels of government, sending a record number of pro-choice women to Washington. Ninety-one percent of the candidates WCLA – Choice Matters endorsed, won!

Choice Matters is particularly proud of our victories in two races: the 37th NYS Senate District where George Latimer was victorious, despite being outspent by historic proportions in a state senate race; and in the 93rd NYS Assembly District where David Buchwald defeated an anti-choice incumbent. We were told we didn’t stand a chance, but guess what – we won! As Latimer’s campaign manager told me, “We couldn’t have done it without you!”

But, despite our wins, the majority of the representatives in the United States Congress and in the New York State Senate are anti-choice. And dozens of statehouses across the country remain poised to pass anti-woman legislation. The election may be over but the battle is not. Choice Matters needs you to help us keep New York moving in the right direction.

Right here in New York, Assemblyman Katz, 94 A.D., promises the first bill introduced in Albany this legislative session will be one to defund Planned Parenthood. New York’s anti-choice Senate refuses to even bring the Reproductive Health Act up for a vote. In Congress, the big budget fight is being led by former vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan, famous for his view that “rape is just another method of conception”, who believes this is their best chance to cut the federal family-planning program and take away cancer screenings, maternity care, and affordable birth control from millions of women and families.

Here in Westchester, anti-choice extremist County Executive Astorino who opposes abortion even in cases of rape, incest or to save a woman’s life, vetoed a law which would have provided women the most basic of rights – safe access to reproductive health facilities. Surrounding himself with seven anti-choice legislators, all of whom voted against safe clinic access, Rob Astorino has brought the War on Women and our Families home to Westchester–and his seven allies are helping him target the most vulnerable. They have cut funding for childcare and afterschool programs that would have enabled women to work; and four of them even voted to cut transportation for seniors. Astorino’s 2013 budget cuts $3 million in county funding to three neighborhood health centers. (For more, read our Westchester County Board Passes Paul Ryan’s Budget.)

Choice Matters is calling on you to help us with our next big challenge. We need to educate Westchester voters about this County Executive and his own personal war on women. Westchester deserves a pro-choice leader who will work to build up our county and its infrastructure, not one who puts politics before the welfare of the county, incorporating his extreme ideology into all of his governmental policies. The battle begins now.

I think you agree with me when I say politics has no place in our fundamental reproductive rights. Make a gift to Choice Matters to support our work.

Choice Matters has been standing strong since 1972! That’s 40 years! Using Choice Matters’ ProChoice IDEA – Identification, Education and Activation, we have interviewed hundreds of thousands of female voters, identified those who are pro-choice, and added them to our database. We do this every single week in each and every year. It is this amazing database that made us victorious in the 37th NYS Senatorial District and the 93rd NYS Assembly District this year!

Your support makes it possible for us to send everyone in our database our ProChoice voting guide newsletter which informs the public about Choice, elected officials’ reproductive rights actions, challengers’ positions, and our critical endorsements. This voting guide newsletter scares some candidates and elected officials and rewards others because it holds them accountable for their actions.

Your generous contribution of $25, $100, $250 or more will help Choice Matters’ ProChoice IDEA campaign continue to identify and educate households across the county and state.

Choice Matters is a mighty pro-choice organization with a proven strategy. That’s because you, our donors, have given us extraordinary support for 40 years. We hope you will continue to do so. Your contribution — for as much as you can afford — will help make a difference. No contribution is too small, or too large as every dollar truly counts. Please email or mail your contribution today. (Click here!)

Supporting Choice Matters is the most valuable action an advocate for Choice can take. Thank you!

* (Eisenstadt v. Baird, 1972, extended the right to single people.)

Candidate Bob Cohen is Anti-Choice!!

Bob Cohen is anti-choice!  NO if’s and’s or but’s about it.

This man will say anything to get elected and that makes him the most dangerous kind of candidate there is.

Bob Cohen already has a history of turning his back on the women of Westchester.

In the spring of 2012, Choice Matters tried to give Cohen the opportunity to stand up for the rights of women. After all, he’d been a NYS Senate candidate in 2010 and was already campaigning for the newly redrawn 37th Senate district seat.

Choice Matters asked Cohen to submit a letter in support of the most basic right—the right to access reproductive health clinics safely, right here in Westchester, without fear of being kicked, grabbed, hit, physically menaced or blocked from entry. Cohen was non-responsive.

As many of you may remember, that proposed law had been carefully reviewed by the New York Civil Liberties Union to make sure that all first amendment rights were protected, and they were. All aspects of speech were protected, including prayer.

The proposed law — simply put — made clear that women should be allowed to access reproductive health care safely.

Choice Matters contacted Cohen’s campaign manager Matt several times. Matt even gave Choice Matters Cohen’s email address so we could contact him directly. And we did.

(Click here to see Choice Matters’ email to Cohen, to the address provided by his campaign manager Matt.)

Cohen never responded. Despite more calls to campaign manager Matt, Cohen refused to stand up for Westchester women.

Why was such a simple and easily satisfied request rejected?  Probably because Cohen has taken the Conservative Party line and the Conservative Party has merged with the extremist anti-choice Right to Life Party.  (We noted that on the cover of the last bright yellow 2011 Voting Guide.)

Cohen does not want the right wing of the Conservative Party to know he is speaking out of both sides of his mouth, making contradictory promises to opposing groups.

For further proof that Bob Cohen is Anti-Choice, we just need to look at his Choice Matters questionnaire and his interview responses for this 2012 race.

The Choice Matters questionnaire asks whether a candidate would make his/her support of the Reproductive Health Act (RHA) a public part of his/her campaign.  (RHA is a bill that would bring New York’s abortion law into the 21st century.)  Cohen refused to answer the question!

When pushed in an interview to explain, Cohen said that he absolutely would not put anything about RHA on his literature, but if someone asked, he would tell them. Cohen is on the record in his questionnaire for not wanting to make reproductive rights part of his campaign.

Why? Simple. Because Cohen does not want to lose the votes of the extreme right, anti-choice voters of the Conservative Party.

Bob Cohen is Anti-Choice.

Imagine what Cohen has promised the Conservative Party — a party that has as key planks in its platform anti-choice and anti-gay  resolutions!! If Cohen cannot be public about his position on women’s rights, you can be certain that he will never stand up for us.

It is important to note that “Pro-choice” has become a marketing term in Westchester because Westchester voters vote Choice. And it is absolutely essential that Choice voters know who is telling the truth and can be trusted.

For example, Nan Hayworth ran in 2010 claiming she was “pro-choice.” But once elected, Hayworth became a favorite of anti-choice groups.  Hayworth currently boasts an 80% approval rating from the National Right to Life Organization; she has co-sponsored two of their bills, and, among other things, voted to de-fund Planned Parenthood.  That sure doesn’t sound like someone who is pro-choice to us.  Does it to you?

WCLA – Choice Matters’ mission is clear: “to keep abortion legal and to ensure that all women, regardless of age, race, class, status, geography or ability to pay, have full, unimpeded access to reproductive health care.”

We tell you the truth about the candidates because the women in our lives depend on us.

News Alert: There will be NO ProChoice Voting Guide This Year unless…

There will be no bright yellow ProChoice voting guide in your mailbox this election year unless we can raise $33,000 by September 30th.

The implications of this are huge, and all are negative for the pro-choice community.

Anti-choice candidates will win, and pro-choice candidates will lose, because you will not know one from the other.

Albany will not pass the Reproductive Health Care Act and all funding to Planned Parenthood could be cut — and that’s only for starters.
 
All because — for the first time since we began our mailing decades ago — you will not have received your ProChoice Voting Guide.
 
The most effective way to reach voters is the US Postal Service mail, not email.

Unfortunately, no one—not Planned Parenthood, not NARAL, not the League of Women Voters—mails guides anymore because it is simply too costly.

And emails are not the answer.
Some people receive hundreds of emails every week, and some even hundreds each day. But, where an email doesn’t stand out, a Bright Yellow Voting Guide in your mail does.

Until now, WCLA – Choice Matters has always mailed because it is THE BEST WAY to communicate with voters.

We have over 90,000 pro-choice identified voters in our database!

Pro-choice voters rely on our ProChoice Voting Guide. They grab it out of their mail, read it in the car, or while having a quick cup of coffee, or even as they go to vote. With real-life schedules that start long before dawn and go late into the night, many pro-choice voters have no time to access a personal computer. Click Here to Help Save the Voting Guide

And don’t forget our seniors. Pro-choice seniors are the population most likely to vote, by a large margin. Many do not use computers. They value the mail, specifically the mailing of our Bright Yellow ProChoice Voting Guide, easy to see and to hold.

That is exactly why — despite the ever-growing cost of postage and printing — we have fought to mail the ProChoice Voting Guide every year.  Every year it has gotten harder.  And every year we’ve had to struggle to live within our ever decreasing budget going from mailing three newsletters a year, to two, to just the Voting Guide, cutting them down from 24 pages to 16 to now just 4.  There is simply just no where else to cut – except the Voting Guide itself.

Choice Matters trumpets the truth in its guide. We endorse only those candidates who are 100% pro-choice — and we expose the imposters. We endorse candidates based on their answers to our questionnaire, interviews, voting records, and who is best positioned to help protect and advance a woman’s right to comprehensive reproductive health care.
 
It has always been difficult to fund the newsletters and voting guide — and every year it gets harder.

And make no mistake about it, this comes at a terrible time.  There is an all out war being waged locally and nationally against women and the rights that we have fought for all these years since we won the right to vote.  From attempting to legislate forced vaginal ultrasounds, to battles to deny women contraception, to the veto of the Clinic Access Bill here in Westchester, to Albany’s failure to pass the Reproductive Health Care Act – everything is on the line.  Remember, if they win, we lose. We lose our control over our bodies and with it our  independence, socially and economically. This election –  with the state, congressional and presidential offices all up for grabs –  may very well decide our fate for decades to come.

This is not a story of the boy who cries wolf. It is a sad fact for the women of Westchester County and New York State, and the country.  This year, without your help, there will be no Bright Yellow ProChoice Voting Guide in thousands of mailboxes all over Westchester. We Need Your Help

We need your contribution to save our voting guide. Please donate today to help us mail the voting guide to all pro-choice households in Westchester County.

Astorino Supports Terrorizing Women – Vetoes Clinic Access Bill

Last Friday, just minutes after the conclusion of a press conference calling on the County Executive to support safe access of reproductive health care centers, Astorino vetoed  the bill. (Watch the Press Conference.)

He cited a litany of trumped up arguments that he rehearsed on Channel 12 the weekend before. These manufactured arguments have all been proven groundless by some of the greatest legal minds in New York and by New York law itself. Astorino’s veto was dripping with untruths intended to disguise his real motivating force.

Fact: Astorino vetoed the bill because his right-to-life anti-choice extremist constituents asked him to do so. (See the promise made in an email from zealot John Mark-click here.)

Astorino knew he could get away with this because he made sure that there was no super majority to override  his veto. His little puppets, led by opportunists Jim Maisano and Bernice Spreckman who have become traitors to Choice, don’t care what happens to women who use clinics and centers for access to health care.

Unlike these Astorino puppets, many women of  Westchester face financial constraints that do not allow them to visit a private doctor so as to avoid harassing and terrorizing demonstrators.

Mr. Astorino and his allies in the Republican delegation are waging a silent war against Westchester’s women and our families.

Despite what Astorino and his minions would have you think, the Clinic Access Bill is not about providers. It is about women: your mother, your sister, your daughter, your aunt.

It is about women accessing safe, good, affordable health care.

It is about health care for senior women who need breast exams, pap smears, and more.

It is about younger women who need cancer screenings and comprehensive reproductive health care.

This is not about County tax dollars. It is about women and health care.

This veto stands with other attacks by this administration and its allies in the Republican delegation.

Astorino’s handpicked candidate Sheila Marcotte–along with Mike Smith, Gordon Burrows, and David Gelfarb–led the way in voting NO to funding senior transportation-just $15,000 in the County budget.

This money was allocated to transportation ONLY for seniors, most of whom are women–some widowed or divorced  and statistically one of the least financially stable groups in our society. And Astorino’s puppets wants to deny them transportation!

Astorino has made it increasingly expensive for the working poor to qualify for childcare. The result is that far fewer are qualifying, and then must choose between quitting their jobs or placing their kids in unlicensed and potentially unsafe facilities-something you can bet Astorino would never do to his own kids.

Astorino has cut four after school programs that were receiving partial funding from the federal government. Why? Because he can.  Who in a community hanging on just simply to survive has the time or the ability to fight back?

The list of his actions is much longer, and simple to understand.

Rob Astorino has brought the War on Women and our Families to Westchester–and his allies like Sheila Marcotte, are helping him target the most vulnerable.

Clinic Access Bill Passes, But For How Long?

The Good News:
The Clinic Access Bill Passed

The Bad News:
Two Legislators Betrayed Us!

Let me start by saying thank you to those who came out. Because you were there, you gave force and conviction to our words.
The great news is that we won. The vote by our legislators on the Reproductive Health Care Access Bill, which came one week after the Public Hearing, was 10-7 our way.

Ten legislators voted to pass our bill which guarantees safe access for women to enter and exit reproductive health clinics while protecting First Amendment Rights to free speech.  This was a great victory. It has taken us more than 14 years to get this far.

Unfortunately, the bad news is that  our success will be short lived because the County Executive who is an anti-choice extremist will veto this bill.

-And because last November two pro-choice elected officials were replaced by anti-choice right-to-life zealots, we lost two important override votes.

-And, most importantly, because we have two turncoats in our midst, we will not be able to override the anti-woman County Executive’s veto.

Most disturbing to me in this is that these two turncoat opportunists –Jim Maisano and Bernice Spreckman — who would have given us our super-majority override against the County Executive’s veto, voted against protecting the women of Westchester.

Instead, turncoats Maisano and Spreckman decided to launch their own personal war on women in order to further their own political and personal agendas.

Maisano stated to pro-choice advocates that he had to choose between the women of Westchester and the Conservative Party endorsement.

Maisano chose the Conservative Party.

(Conservative Party Chairman Fox, who also works for County Excutive Rob Astorino on tax payer dollars, sat right in front of Maisano to cement the deal.)

To Maisano, the Conservative party is more important than the health care of, according to the census, 51.6% of Westchester’s population.

More precisely, Maisano does not care about the health care of young women and those who cannot afford a private doctor.

Maisano only cares about his own political career, and has concocted a list of fabricated arguments to explain why he did not vote for the bill. All of his arguments have been refuted by great legal minds who do not have a political agenda.

Bernice Spreckman’s reason for betraying the trust of Westchester’s women is different.
Spreckman’s son apparently now works for County Excutive Rob Astorino. This is Spreckman’s own form of job security. She knows that Astorino is an anti-choice extremist, so she decided to look out for her son and turn her back on the women of Westchester.
Some think that it is wrong that I tell you that – somehow family facts are to be kept private. I do not agree. When the facts affect an elected official’s abiltiy to make sound decisions that impact the of 51.6% of the population then I believe the public deserves to know.

Fact: Jim Maisano and Bernice Spreckman sought our endorsement for more than a dozen years, and received it.

Fact: They used our endorsement to get elected.

Fact: After all those endorsements, this was the first time that we sought their vote and their voice – as their two votes are critical.

Fact: NOW when their vote counts, they voted NO!

Fact: For political expediency, they  turned their backs on all of us who voted for them, slamming the clinic door in our faces.


At this juncture we must tell Jim Maisano and Bernice Spreckman we will not tolerate their empty words and empty promises.

Our endorsement and our votes do matter and we will not be used again.

Nicholas D. Kristoff, you got it right! “Beyond Pelvic Politics”

Beyond Pelvic Politics

By Nicholas D. Kristof, The New York Times, 2/11/2012

I MAY not be as theologically sophisticated as American bishops, but I had thought that Jesus talked more about helping the poor than about banning contraceptives.

The debates about pelvic politics over the last week sometimes had a patronizing tone, as if birth control amounted to a chivalrous handout to women of dubious morals. On the contrary, few areas have more impact on more people than birth control — and few are more central to efforts to chip away at poverty.

My well-heeled readers will be furrowing their brows at this point. Birth control is cheap, you’re thinking, and far less expensive than a baby (or an abortion). But for many Americans living on the edge, it’s a borderline luxury.

A 2009 study looked at sexually active American women of modest means, ages 18 to 34, whose economic circumstances had deteriorated. Three-quarters said that they could not afford a baby then. Yet 30 percent had put off a gynecological or family-planning visit to save money. More horrifying, of those using the pill, one-quarter said that they economized by not taking it every day. (My data is from the Guttmacher Institute, a nonpartisan research organization on issues of sexual health.)

One-third of women in another survey said they would switch birth control methods if not for the cost. Nearly half of those women were relying on condoms, and others on nothing more than withdrawal.

The cost of birth control is one reason poor women are more than three times as likely to end up pregnant unintentionally as middle-class women.

In short, 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.

To understand the centrality of birth control, consider that every dollar that the United States government spends on family planning reduces Medicaid expenditures by $3.74, according to Guttmacher. Likewise, the National Business Group on Health estimated that it costs employers at least an extra 15 percent if they don’t cover contraception in their health plans.

And of course birth control isn’t just a women’s issue: men can use contraceptives too, and unwanted pregnancies affect not only mothers but also fathers.

This is the backdrop for the uproar over President Obama’s requirement that Catholic universities and hospitals include birth control in their health insurance plans. On Friday, the White House backed off a bit — forging a compromise so that unwilling religious employers would not pay for contraception, while women would still get the coverage — but many administration critics weren’t mollified.

Look, there’s a genuine conflict here. Many religious believers were sincerely offended that Catholic institutions would have to provide coverage for health interventions that the church hierarchy opposed. That counts in my book: it’s best to avoid forcing people to do things that breach their ethical standards.

Then again, it’s not clear how many people actually are offended. A national survey found that 98 percent of sexually active Catholic women use birth control at some point in their lives. Moreover, a survey by the Public Religion Research Institute reported that even among Catholics, 52 percent back the Obama policy: they believe that religiously affiliated universities and hospitals should be obliged to include birth control coverage in insurance plans.

So, does America’s national health policy really need to make a far-reaching exception for Catholic institutions when a majority of Catholics oppose that exception?

I wondered what other religiously affiliated organizations do in this situation. Christian Science traditionally opposed medical care. Does The Christian Science Monitor deny health insurance to employees?

“We offer a standard health insurance package,” John Yemma, the editor, told me.

That makes sense. After all, do we really want to make accommodations across the range of faith? What if organizations affiliated with Jehovah’s Witnesses insisted on health insurance that did not cover blood transfusions? What if ultraconservative Muslim or Jewish organizations objected to health care except at sex-segregated clinics?

The basic principle of American life is that we try to respect religious beliefs, and accommodate them where we can. But we ban polygamy, for example, even for the pious. Your freedom to believe does not always give you a freedom to act.

In this case, we should make a good-faith effort to avoid offending Catholic bishops who passionately oppose birth control. I’m glad that Obama sought a compromise. But let’s remember that there are also other interests at stake. If we have to choose between bishops’ sensibilities and women’s health, our national priority must be the female half of our population.