Obama offers compromise to religious entities on birth control

Obama offers exemption to religious organizations

Newscast Media WASHINGTON, D.C.—After facing opposition from religious institutions concerning the requirement for such organizations to provide contraception coverage to their employees, Barack Obama is offering a revised version of the health care provision, that would exempt faith-based organizations from paying for such services, but employees could get it under separate coverage paid for directly by insurance companies.

“Today, the Obama Administration moved forward to continue to implement provisions in the health care law that would provide women contraceptive coverage without cost sharing, while taking into account religious objections to contraceptive services by certain religious organizations. The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) released today reflects the public feedback from comments on the Advance NPRM issued in March 2012,” the Department of Health and Human Services said in a statement on its Web site.

Previously, the exemption had a very limited scope in the way it defined religious employers or organizations as we published in this Jan 31. article.

Today, according to revised definition, religious employers include: “Churches, their integrated auxiliaries, and conventions or associations of churches and the exclusively religious activities of any religious order.”

The provision in Obamacare that has been causing a stir, requires most employers to provide coverage for contraceptives, including the morning-after pill, to employees who wish to consume such products.

Religious leaders have said they are still studying the new revised clause, while other small business owners say the provision should not be extended to just “non-profits” but also to “for-profit” small business owners whose religious faith is in conflict with the Affordable Care Act contraceptive provision.