November 17, 2011
Last August, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a proposed rule containing the Institute of Medicine’s recommendation that health plans cover the full range of FDA-approved contraceptive methods, sterilization procedures, and patient education and counseling for all women, without cost-sharing. The proposed rule contained an exemption from the contraception requirement for non-profit religious organizations providing group coverage and which mainly employ individuals sharing the religious views of the organization.
We are now facing the possibility that, within the next few days, the Obama administration will expand the current religious exemption from the contraceptive coverage requirement to allow religiously affiliated hospitals, charities, and universities to exclude contraceptive coverage from their employee health plans.
Religious groups are exerting intense pressure on the administration, claiming that the contraception coverage requirement infringes on their “religious liberty” and seeking to have their beliefs and tenets bind all Americans’ health insurance coverage. These groups do not support access to contraception and will not do so no matter the exemption made.
If you want to weigh in on this debate, contact the White House today at http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact or 202-456-1111 and urge the President to protect women’s health and NOT to expand the religious exemption. The exemption makes no medical sense. Every woman deserves affordable health care, including contraception, no matter where she works.