The Obama administration announced on Friday a new accommodation for religious nonprofits that object to covering the full range of contraceptives in their employee health care plans.
The new accommodation will allow religious nonprofits, such as Catholic schools and hospitals, to opt out of covering birth control by notifying the Department of Health and Human Services of their objections. HHS and the Department of Labor will then arrange for a third-party insurer to pay for and administer the coverage for the nonprofits' employees so that women still receive the contraceptive coverage guaranteed to them by the Affordable Care Act.
“Women across the country deserve access to recommended preventive services that are important to their health, no matter where they work,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell. “Today’s announcement reinforces our commitment to providing women with access to coverage for contraception, while respecting religious considerations raised by non-profit organizations and closely held for-profit companies."
The original accommodation required religious nonprofits to directly ask a third-party insurer to pay for and administer the contraception coverage if the nonprofit objected to covering it. But several nonprofits sued the administration over the rule, claiming that the act of filling out a form violated their religious beliefs by serving as a "permission slip" for its employees to use contraceptives.