By Linda Feldman & (Comments By Editor)
The Obama administration took steps Friday it said would ensure that women who work for religious employers will have continued access to cost-free (TAXPAYER FUNDED) birth control coverage, while respecting the views of their employers.
The rules address both religious nonprofits and “closely held” for-profit corporations whose owners have moral objections to some or all forms of birth control.
The first rule applies to nonprofits and sets up a new pathway for employers to provide notice of their religious objection. Now, effective immediately, eligible organizations may notify the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) directly of their objections, and HHS and the Department of Labor will then notify insurers and third-party administrators to allow the insured to receive separate coverage of contraceptive services. Such services would be provided at no additional cost to enrollees or employers (BUT WILL BURDEN WORKING TAX PAYING AMERICANS).
Examples of such nonprofits include Catholic and other religious universities, hospitals, and charities.
In the second move, HHS is soliciting comments on how to extend the same accommodation to certain “closely held” for-profit corporations. In June, the US Supreme Court ruled that the administration could not impose the contraception mandate in the Affordable Care Act on the owners of closely held companies such as Hobby Lobby, a chain of arts-and-crafts stores. The administration is still working out the definition of “closely held for-profit company.”
“Women across the country deserve access to recommended preventive services (SUCH AS SHS – STOP HAVING SEX) that are important to their health, no matter where they work,” HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell said, in a statement. “Today’s announcement reinforces our commitment to providing women (WHO REFUSE SHS STRATEGIES) with access to coverage for contraception, while respecting (CIRCUMVENTING) religious considerations raised by nonprofit organizations and closely held for-profit companies.”
The birth control mandate in Obamacare has spawned dozens of lawsuits (AND HAS PREVENTED SPAWNING TO SOME DEGREE), on the grounds that it is an unconstitutional infringement of religious freedom.
Advocates for religious employers said they would review the new rules before issuing an assessment. But the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops expressed “disappointment” in the rules.