No healthcare policy has been as controversial in recent years as the Affordable Care Act, and one of its most contentious aspects is the “contraception mandate,” requiring employers to provide no-cost birth control to employees. Employers with a religious or moral objection to contraception have claimed it is a violation of their religious freedom to force them to cover certain contraceptive methods in their insurance plans—an objection that was vindicated by the Supreme Court in the controversial Hobby Lobby decision.
But what about religiously-affiliated women? Where were their voices in all of this? And what did they think about the mandate? This was the question that intrigued Elizabeth Patton, an OB/GYN and health-services researcher at the University of Michigan. “There was a lot of media framing around religious opposition to the mandate and we tend to hear from certain religious and political leaders, but the voices of religious women aren’t really well-represented,” she said.