We Democrats always talk about being a "big-tent" party, with room for all beliefs, opinions, and ideas. Our party's history has always been one of inclusion over exclusion, and that commitment to acceptance has proven one thing: we succeed because unlike Republicans, we are a party that understands when life is not black and white. Once again, Democrats have stuck to our roots, this time listening and acting when people of faith use their voice.
On Jan. 20, 2012, the Department of Health and Human Services announced an exemption for religious hospitals, nonprofit organizations and faith-based universities, in their decision to require health insurance plans to cover preventative care. After discussions with faith-based organizations, the administration has decided to give them an extra year to find a way to comply with a ruling that would ensure that women have access to contraception and other preventive care with no out-of-pocket cost, thus striking a balance between the needs of women and a respect for religious communities.
Mitt Romney has been telling us that he has never supported women's health coverage (unless you count all the times he did). While Mitt Romney is trying to figure out what he believes, President Obama has made incredible strides in terms of women's health. He has made insurance companies stop discriminating based on gender, made sure that women can access mammograms and other preventative services at no cost, and is standing against Washington Republicans who want to roll back women's rights and access to the health care they need.
Once again, the Democratic Party and the Obama administration have shown that when people of faith speak, they listen. For far too long, insurance companies have refused to cover the health needs of the most vulnerable and charged unfair premiums, as if being female were a preexisting condition. The desire to see fair health coverage is a common goal of both the Democratic Party and people of faith -- a goal that was accomplished when we worked together.