The founding fathers clearly did not want America to be a religion-dominated country. In the Virginia Act for Religious Freedom, Thomas Jefferson said, “No man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever.”

The concept of “religious freedom” is being seriously abused these days. Why should employers be allowed to refuse to have insurance pay for birth control, a normal part of a health care plan? They are forcing their religious beliefs on others.

I believe that many fundamentalist churches today are 90 percent super-conservative political organizations, 10 percent religion, and thus undeserving of religious tax exemptions. Opposing birth control while also opposing government help for poor families, children and single mothers is the height of hypocrisy.

Why should politicians and preachers decide whether or not women have children, anyway? Women can’t make men have vasectomies or cut off Viagra prescriptions. This issue is not so much about birth control as about conservative men trying to control women’s lives the way men did in the 1800s.

Taking away the requirement for insurance to cover birth control is wrong. Children are wonderful for those who want them and can afford to take care of them. Forced pregnancies are terrible for women who are not ready to be a parent, have no money to support a child, or do not want children.

Women should be free to make their own personal and medical decisions. The religious/political right should get out of women’s bedrooms.

Ellen Field, New Gloucester

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