HHS Announces Changes to Contraceptive Mandate, But Proposal Met With Skepticism
The Department of Health and Human Services announced Friday proposed accommodations for religious groups concerning the controversial contraceptive mandate, but many religious and conservative organizations say the proposal does not go far enough, the Christian Post reports. Religious organizations have protested against the mandate ever since it was announced that they would have to offer employees insurance that provides access to birth control and abortifacient drugs. The current provision allows for a very narrow exemption for some religious groups, but Christian-owned companies like Hobby Lobby and schools like Wheaton College are not exempt and have filed lawsuits against the federal government. The new deal basically provides broader exclusions for religious organizations and tries to seek a middle ground between religious concerns and the goal of Obamacare to provide near-universal contraceptive coverage. But a number of conservative groups spoke out Friday against the new proposal, saying the accommodations did not directly address the concerns of those with a moral objection to the contraceptive mandate. "There must be no religious 'test' by the government as to who, and what type of entities, are entitled to a conscience," said Marjorie Dannenfelser of the pro-life group Susan B. Anthony List. "After over a year of litigation, our clients and many others like them were hoping for much, much more from the administration," said Kyle Duncan, general counsel for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty.