contraception

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A Michigan company’s legal fight against the Affordable Care Act’s contraception requirement will likely continue, despite the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in a similar case Monday.

The Supreme Court says corporations can hold religious objections that allow them to opt out of the new health law requirement that they cover contraceptives for women. 

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Can art and history change the tone of the conversation in the pro-choice movement?

Artist and activist Heather Ault believes they can.

Heather is the founder of 4000 Years for Choice. She's created an art series that presents abortion and contraception as a part of human history, a history of women seeking to control their reproduction.

Her posters are currently on exhibit at the Lane Hall Gallery on the University of Michigan campus.

Heather Ault joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

Prescription-free emergency contraception is supposed to be available over-the-counter, across the country, for women of all ages.

But, for some, where you live matters. On today's show we found out about the uneven access to Plan B in Native American communities.

And the Yankee Air Museum has been given more time as it tries to save part of an historic factory. Will the Willow Run bomber plant be saved?

And we met a woman using graffiti in a very unique way.

Have you heard “The Michigan Poem?” We spoke to the Kalamazoo performance duo who wrote it.

Also, we took a look at child passenger safety laws and how to keep kids safe during car rides.

First on the show, we turned to Detroit's Mayoral election. Voters in Michigan's largest city will head to the polls one week from tomorrow.

Within that race for Mayor  is the issue of race. There is a white candidate: Mike Duggan - former Detroit Medical Center CEO, and a black candidate: Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon.

As part of the Detroit Free Press' endorsement of a Mayoral candidate, our next guest penned yesterday's column in the Freep about the complex role that race is playing in this election.

Stephen Henderson is the Editorial Page Editor for the Detroit Free Press, and he joined us today.

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There are 12 recognized Native American tribes in Michigan- some 130,000 Native Americans who live throughout our state.

Michigan has the largest population of Native Americans east of the Mississippi.

And in that community---as well as across the nation -- one of the most urgent women's health issues has been access to emergency contraception.

For most American women, it takes a trip to the drug store and anywhere from $30-65 to get the so-called "morning after pill," also known as Plan B.

The dilemma for women who go to Indian Health Services facilities: they have no retail pharmacies, so American Indian and Alaska Native women who needed emergency contraception would have to deal with emergency rooms and urgent care clinics, and that usually adds up to long wait times.

And when you learn the frequency of sexual assault against Native American women, it becomes very clear why this issue is so important.

Although the Federal Government has given a verbal directive to Indian Health Services to give women over age 17 free access to Plan B, there's concern that this is not being evenly handled.

Charon Asetoyer is the founder and Executive Director of the Native American Community Board and the Native American Women's Health Education Resource Center located on the Yankton Sioux Reservation in Lake Andes, South Dakota.

She joined us today to discuss the issue.

Listen to the full interview above.

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A federal appeals court ruled against a southeastern Michigan natural foods company that claims it should be exempt from the contraception provision in the federal health care law. The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals issued its opinion today.

The Affordable Care Act requires employers to provide workers with insurance that covers contraception.

User: Brother O'Mara / flickr

Michigan will have a federal health exchange to shop for coverage

"Michigan will be part of the federal government’s health insurance exchange, instead of being a partner in a joint effort. That’s because the state Senate began its spring break Thursday without meeting a deadline to vote on accepting federal funds for the project," Rick Pluta reports.

Health care providers could refuse to provide contraception for moral reasons

"Health care professionals and insurance companies could refuse to provide contraception, or other services if they find them morally objectionable under a bill adopted by a legislative committee. The measure makes exception for emergencies," Rick Pluta reports.

Detroit reps want feds to investigate EMs

"Two congressmen who represent Detroit are asking the federal government to investigate Michigan's emergency managers. Democratic Congressmen John Conyers and Gary Peters are asking the federal Government Accountability Office . . . to make sure any federal dollars under emergency manager control aren’t being wasted or misused. In a letter written to the accountability office, the congressmen say they’re concerned about the impact emergency managers could have on federally-funded programs and grants," Lindsey Smith reports.

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The state Senate Health Policy Committee has approved a measure that allows health care providers and insurance companies to deny patients medical treatments if they have a moral objection.

Committee approval puts the bill in line for a vote by the full Senate.

Republican state Senator John Moolenaar says there is an exception in the bill if a patient faces a medical emergency.

“If there was an emergency, health care services would be provided regardless of violations of conscience. In the case of a specific person, no person would be denied services based on personal characteristics.”

Moolenar says that ensures health care providers cannot discriminate against particular patients.

State Senator Rebekuh Warren is a Democrat who sits on the Senate Health Policy Committee.

She says patients facing a health crisis could still be denied services in some cases. She says that’s why she voted against the bill.

“This would allow health insurance payers, whole healthcare systems, hospital systems, doctors’ offices, medical schools, educational institutions to cloak themselves in a conscientious objection and refuse to give treatment, even emergency treatment, to people who need care.”

A health care professional who refuses to offer a service would have to refer patients to to a provider who does offer the treatment. The full state Senate could vote on the measure when it returns from a two-week spring break. 

Michigan already allows health professionals to refuse to provide abortions.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

DETROIT (AP) - A federal judge has ruled a property management company owned by the founder of Domino's Pizza doesn't have to immediately implement mandatory contraception coverage in the health care law.

U.S. District Judge Lawrence Zatkoff ruled Sunday in favor of Tom Monaghan and his Domino's Farms Corp. near Ann Arbor. Monaghan, a devout Roman Catholic, says contraception isn't health care but a "gravely immoral" practice.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A Catholic legal group says parts of President Obama’s health care law violate their clients’ religious freedom.

Representatives for the Thomas More Law Center made their arguments on behalf of business owners in a Detroit federal court Friday.

The groups charge that they shouldn’t have to provide employees with health insurance that includes contraception coverage—the so-called “HHS mandate”-- in violation of their first amendment rights.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Several hundred people gathered at the state capitol today to protest the Obama Administration’s push to make all employer-provided health care plans carry contraception coverage.    Similar rallies took place in Detroit, Flint, Ann Arbor and other Michigan cities.

The Catholic Church is a main opponent of the contraception mandate. Church leaders held rallies across the country today.

The Michigan Catholic Conference filed a federal lawsuit yesterday, charging that their freedom of religion has been violated because of a new rule regarding health insurance policies.

And on the basis of logic alone, I have to say, what they are claiming makes absolutely no sense to me. This is not an issue that only involves Michigan. Forty-three Roman Catholic dioceses, social service agencies, schools and even the University of Notre Dame filed similar lawsuits across the nation. Their issue is simply this.

The Obama administration's Department of Health and Human Services has a rule requiring all employers that provide health insurance to have that coverage cover contraceptives.

The Roman Catholic Church opposes any use of contraception, and says being required to cover this violates their religious freedom.

This is not, by the way, part of the Affordable Care Act, the constitutionality of which is due to be decided by the United States Supreme Court next month, This is entirely a different case.

The Michigan Catholic Conference and other Catholic groups across the nation say that requiring them to insure contraceptive coverage violates their rights under both the First Amendment and under a bill called the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

They want the federal courts to make the Obama Administration drop this requirement.

But here's why their argument seems illogical. The government is not requiring that anybody approve of or use contraception. That would be a tremendous violation of religious freedom. What the government is saying is that if someone does choose to do so, insurance plans have to cover it.

That makes logical and legal sense, given that nearly half a century ago, in a case called Griswold vs. Connecticut, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a state could not outlaw the use of contraceptives. Incidentally, every survey I have ever seen shows that the majority of American Catholics do in fact use contraception, even though it is against their church's teaching.

More than two hundred people gathered today in front of Ann Arbor's Federal Building. They were protesting a recent federal mandate from the Department of Health and Human Services that requires all employer healthcare plans to provide contraceptive services.

Seven similar rallies were also held in Michigan, along with more than 100 others across the country organized by Catholic pro-life groups.

Christen Houck is a student at the University of Michigan.

"This mandate is unconstitutional based on the fact that it goes against people's religious consciences," she says. "That's something that we really need to protect. I do not think this is an issue about contraception, but it's really about religious freedom."

Twenty-eight states, including Michigan, already require coverage of contraceptives in employer healthcare plans. Michigan’s law includes a broad religious exemption.

-Alex Markel, Michigan Radio Newsroom