Administration’s Fix is a Farce
The Obama administration has issued two new rules to fix alleged problems related to the contraceptive coverage benefit in the Affordable Care Act.
The first, in response to the recent Supreme Court decision on cases brought by Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties, proposes a rule to expand to some for-profit corporations the existing accommodation allowing nonprofit organizations to avoid directly providing contraceptive coverage to their employees. The second, effective immediately, allows these organizations and corporations to avoid filling out a form to certify their objections to contraceptive coverage.
Jon O’Brien, the president of Catholics for Choice, issued the following statement on the new rules:
“The administration has claimed that it introduced these rules to protect these organizations’ religious freedom, but what these rules, in fact, do is trample on the rights of individuals and their families. For-profit corporations do not have consciences or religious liberty rights. Their employees do, and the administration should not be creating rules to enable discrimination against workers at the behest of religious extremists.
“The fix is a farce. For some reason, the administration is bending over backwards to appease its biggest critics. The US Conference of Catholic Bishops will not rest until every employer has the right to opt out of this benefit. The bishops won’t be happy until every employer has a free pass to discriminate.
“The real problem right now is that too many women have no coverage for contraceptive services: those working for churches, dioceses and some schools and charities throughout the US. If the Obama administration was serious about fixing contraceptive coverage regulations, it would have reconsidered discriminating against these women by saying their religious liberty doesn’t matter because of where they work. But instead, the administration has done them and their dependents a disservice, leaving them subject to the whims of their employers rather than delivering on the president’s promise of comprehensive preventive healthcare for all Americans.
“In the days and weeks ahead, Catholics for Choice will once again call on Catholics to tell the Obama administration what the majority of us actually believe: that contraceptive coverage is a moral good, that real religious liberty respects women’s consciences and that Catholics expect better for all women regardless of where they work.”