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Columnist William Perugino in Friday’s paper complained that the Department of Health and Human Services and Secretary Kathleen Sibelius had announced that all health insurance must offer sterilization, contraception and abortion drugs with no regard for individual beliefs. He feels that the founding fathers who fled to America to find religious freedom would now believe that that religious freedom was taken from them.

I fail to see the validity of that statement. The Department of Health and Human Services requires that these services concerning human procreation be offered; it does not mandate that everyone must accept them. 

Perugino stated that the founding fathers wanted to “pursue their lives as they wished in happiness and peace.” I agree with that. But what if a woman wants to pursue her life in happiness and peace without children? What if a woman has physical complications that make having children life threatening? What if a woman recognizes that she is not emotionally or financially able to support children? 

Mr. Perugio and his followers offer two choices — abstinence or unwanted pregnancy. Why should Mr. Perugino and those who agree with him be able to make this choice for women or men, for that matter, who do not agree with his beliefs? Why can’t those who disagree with Mr. Perugino live their lives as they wish in happiness and peace?

If those who are pro-life do not wish to accept these services, they do not have to. We should all respect their choice in such personal matters. But, conversely, why can they not offer those who do not agree with their views the same courtesy. Why must those who are pro-life insist that their views are the only correct views and that everyone must follow the dictates of the pro-life conscience, rather than the dictates of their individual consciences?

You follow your beliefs and I’ll follow mine. I won’t condemn you; you don’t condemn me.

Mr. Perugino also states that those who are staunch pro-live supporters should not be required to pay for insurance which offers these services. Again, I do not understand his complaint.

I have paid, beginning with my first teaching job, for health insurance, both for myself, my husband and my children. Probably close to 50 years. During that time neither I nor anyone in my family has had cancer. Yet I am sure some of the insurance premiums I have paid have gone to help someone with cancer. That’s the nature of insurance.

The companies collect premiums from all who carry their insurance. Then they use the premiums to cover those who have claims. If you have no claims, your money goes to pay for the health problems of someone else. I have not heard of any insurance company that says, “Oh, you had no health claims this year. I am going to give you your premiums back for the year.” The companies are in the business of making money.

He also complains that we must pay copays and deductibles for major aliments or injuries while there are no copays for renting breast-feeding equipment.

I believe that most insurance companies pay fully for preventive care, yearly physicals and screenings, so that medical problems can be caught early and cost less for the insurance company. Remember profit is the bottom line. I would think renting breast-feeding equipment could be considered preventive care as doctors say that children gain immunities from their mother’s milk.

This total disregard of women’s rights by those extremely conservative Republicans who think they have the moral high ground is one of the reasons President Obama was elected. Keep it up. He’ll win again.


Paula Travis is a retired teacher from the Newton County School System. She can be reached at