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Welcome to The Seattle Times' online letters to the editor, a sampling of readers' opinions. Join the conversation by commenting on these letters or send your own letter of up to 200 words

February 9, 2013 at 7:00 AM

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Dogma has no place in abortion debate

Acknowledging the separation of church and state

Kent Hickey’s plea to seek common ground in the abortion debate is not helped by his implied attribution of the terms “hunk of tissue” or “gob of goo” to describe a fetus by those who are pro-choice [“Keep dogma out of abortion debate,” Opinion, Feb. 6].

However, if he believes that the liberty to keep personal medical decisions personal is an “essential right,” as he states, then perhaps we could agree that a non-Catholic employee of a Catholic institution who chooses not to carry an unplanned pregnancy to term should not be denied insurance coverage for an abortion on the basis of a religious belief with which she does not agree.

Her insurance coverage is a job benefit that should be protected by the separation of church and state.

--Floyd A. Short, Seattle

Pregnancy decision should be kept personal

In his op-ed opposing the Reproductive Parity Act, Kent P. Hickey uses strong, insensitive and hyperbolic language in his argument designed to create fear in readers.

He writes that the Reproductive Parity Act will, “force employers to provide abortion services in their health-care plans.” The Affordable Care Act requires the insurance exchange to include two plans that won’t cover abortion. So, if a woman’s employer wants to take away her ability to make her own health care decision, it can purchase one of those plans.

He also says the “act violates the Hyde amendment.” Anyone who has read HB 1044 or SB 5009 will know this point is moot. Washington law allows exemptions for entities that object to abortion coverage and the Reproductive Parity Act would not apply to a plan that claims such an exemption.

Hickey is correct on one point — personal medical decisions should be kept personal. Pregnancy decisions should belong to a woman, her family, her physician and her faith, not her employer or insurance company.

--Rozi Hutter, Seattle

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