Obama administration sidesteps religious institutions on no-cost birth control

Today, in response to the obstinate pressure by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Obama administration announced a new plan for no-cost birth control. Essentially, insurance companies will have to pick up the tab if the employer won’t. Via RH Reality Check:

Despite deep concerns, including my own, based on what transpired in the past under health reform, the White House has decided on a plan to address the birth control mandate that will enable women to get contraceptive coverage directly through their insurance plans without having to buy a rider or a second plan, and without having to negotiate with or through religious entities or administrations that are hostile to primary reproductive health care, including but not limited to contraception.

Under this plan, every insurance company will be obligated to provide contraceptive coverage. Administration officials stated that a woman’s insurance company “will be required to reach out directly and offer her contraceptive care free of charge. The religious institutions will not have to pay for it.”

So, if this rule works as intended, women will get birth control with no co-pays no matter where they work and religious institutions will still get that warm, fuzzy feeling of moral superiority because they’re not directly subsidizing their employees sinful lifestyles. I suppose that’s a win-win. But when a bunch of celibate men can throw a hissy fit and get out of providing a basic benefit that most Catholics want and most Catholic employers already cover on the bullshit basis of “religious freedom,” you know things are bad. And the next battle could end up worse.

Atlanta, GA

Maya Dusenbery is an Executive Director in charge of Editorial at Feministing. Maya has previously worked at NARAL Pro-Choice New York and the National Institute for Reproductive Health and was a fellow at Mother Jones magazine. She graduated with a B.A. from Carleton College in 2008. A Minnesota native, she currently lives, writes, edits, and bakes bread in Atlanta, Georgia.

Maya Dusenbery is an Executive Director of Feministing in charge of Editorial.

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