White House Issues New Contraceptive ‘Fix’ for Religious Companies
August 23, 2014 - 8:56 am
The thrust of these “workarounds” and “fixes” is that the administration is trying to give devout people an “out” on contraception coverage, ostensibly to assuage their consciences.
Isn’t that insulting? You would think that objections to paying for contraception for employees is a black and white issue — either you do (no matter who pays for it), and violate your beliefs or you don’t and keep faith with God.
But these guys don’t get it. Is it because many on the left are used to compromising with their own moral precepts — that they can rationalize away moral dilemmas by finding their own “out” to satisfy their consciences?
The Obama administration has issued a new set of rules to provide contraceptive access to women whose employers object to their insurance plans covering birth control, which is required under the Affordable Care Act.
The new policies are intended to fill gaps left by two Supreme Court moves: The landmark Hobby Lobby decision saying contraceptive coverage violated the religious liberty of a for-profit corporation, and a preliminary order in Wheaton College v. Burwell. With today’s regulations, employees of for-profit corporations like Hobby Lobby will be able to access an “accommodation” where the insurer directly provides the cost-free coverage with no financial involvement by the employer. That accommodation was originally limited to religiously-affiliated nonprofits like Little Sisters of the Poor; houses of worship are fully exempt.
For nonprofits like Wheaton College that object to even that accommodation – which involves them signing a form to their insurer – the Obama administration has created a new accommodation to the accommodation. (Yes, it gets complicated.)
“The rules, which are in response to recent court decisions, balance our commitment to helping ensure women have continued access to coverage for preventive services important to their health, with the Administration’s goal of respecting religious beliefs,” Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell said.
For the non-profits that object to the form – arguing that signing it triggers the very birth control coverage they oppose – the new rule allows those employers to write to HHS directly, instead of filling out the form. The Supreme Court first suggested the letter-writing option, and so far the litigants have accepted it. But there was some dispute among legal scholars before about whether the letter would result in actual coverage for the women who worked at those companies. The new rule clarifies that it does.
HHS is also seeking comment on exactly how to structure its accommodation for for-profit companies like Hobby Lobby, which is only one of 193 corporations that have sued for an exemption from covering contraception.
The more the administration tries to satisfy those who don’t want to compromise their religious beliefs, the more they appear out of touch with the main issue; religious freedom. While we should “render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s,” when such collisions take place between the state and religion, it would seem logical that the 1st Amendment trumps any effort to force people to violate their beliefs.
It’s a self-evident position for the Godly. And since the exemption touches only a tiny number of all insureds, you would hope the administration would stop fighting and start accommodating.
As long as Hobby Lobby and others continue to win in court, the administration is tilting at windmills trying find a “solution” for the insoluble.