Religious attack on no co-pay birth control coverage defeated

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced today that it will not allow an expanded religious exemption to the requirement for no co-pay birth control coverage that HHS ruled on in August. The administration’s exemption for insurance plans provided by houses of worship will remain in place. Conservative religious groups, including the influential US Conference of Catholic Bishops, wanted religiously affiliated groups like hospitals and universities to be able to opt out of covering birth control as well.

This is an important victory in the long battle to expand access to contraception. Religiously affiliated groups will have just one additional year to comply with the new rule – other groups will have to start offering no co-pay birth control next August.

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  1. Posted January 20, 2012 at 9:34 pm | Permalink

    Good news! But a bummer that the U.S. Catholic Bishops get to speak in the press as the voice of “religious people.” There are so many religious people (including Catholics) who support access to contraception!

  2. Posted January 24, 2012 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

    I see it more as a compromise: Religious-affiliated groups get a reprieve from providing medical care to their employees for one year, presumably in exchange for not fighting it again a year from now (conveniently, next august is about as far from an election as possible).

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