On Friday, the Trump administration announced something major for religious liberty. They will be rolling back the ObamaCare contraceptive mandate, reported Fox News.
The administration says this will grant “full protection” to companies and organizations that claim “religious or moral objection” to providing contraception to their employees.
The contraception mandate, which was challenged by Hobby Lobby and the Little Sisters of the Poor among others, required employers who provide health insurance to their employees to cover contraceptives.
The existing policy seemingly attempted to accommodate religiously-affiliated groups. Instead of directly paying for the contraption, they were required to allow a third-party administrator or insurer to handle birth control coverage.
Churches and places of worships were already exempt from providing coverage.The 2014 Hobby Lobby decision expanded the third-party exemptions to for-profit “closely held” corporations.
However, under President Trump’s policy things will be different. There will be protections given to any nonprofit group, non-publicly traded company, or higher education institution with religious or moral objections.
They also made the third-party provision optional for groups with “sincerely held” religious beliefs. Publicly traded companies could also claim the exemption, but they would still have to let a third party cover contraception.
“Officials stressed that the impact may be limited, even though the rule changes are significant, as some large corporations were grandfathered into the policy and spared from the mandate anyway,” explained Fox News.
“This rule will leave coverage for 99.9 percent of women in place,” a senior official said.
The official also noted that the groups who will take advantage of President Trump’s rolling back the contraception mandate would be those who have been entrenched in a legal battle over the mandate. They believe only a small number of people will be impacted by the change.
“There are about 200 entities that have participated in lawsuits because of the contraceptive rule, and those entities will benefit from this rule,” a senior HHS official said.
This will certainly be a big deal for religious colleges, religious companies, and groups like the Little Sisters of the Poor, who objected to paying for birth control. For those religiously opposed, today is a victory.
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