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Obama isn’t the extremist in debate over birth control

We greatly appreciate Douglas Turner’s muckraking and often agree with his views. However, we could not disagree with him more than when he called President Obama an extremist because he expects all businesses to provide contraceptive medications and services to women in their employee health insurance plans. These businesses include Catholic-run hospitals and schools and corporations like Hobby Lobby, whose owners are Christian fundamentalists.

A fair assessment of Obama is that he is a moderate and occasionally a progressive, but by no means a radical or an extremist. But more to the point, who are the real extremists here? The real extremists are those who still oppose easy access to effective contraception and birth control for women. The real extremists are the leaders of the Catholic Church and companies whose anachronistic views on contraception would, if universally applied, relegate women of child-bearing age to celibacy or pregnancy.

The real extremists are those who reject effective family planning and instead would leave women to the mercy of the “rhythm method,” which, even when carefully practiced, is statistically only about 75 percent effective. The real extremists are those who reject the principle that women have a right to control their own bodies.

With the help of the media, critics of the president have been allowed to present themselves as mainstream segments of the population when in reality they represent a small fringe element. Consider that the vast majority of Catholics reject the birth control position of their church’s hierarchy.

Ironically, by denying women easy affordable access to birth control, these religious extremists are making abortion, which they abhor, more likely.

Nan and Walter Simpson

Amherst