Obama Administration Tweaks HHS Mandate Rules

Stop Obama's HHS Mandate Steve Rhodes / / CC BY-NC-ND

Faced with nearly 50 lawsuits by employers with religious objections, the Obama administration announced on Friday new details of the contraception coverage rule that clarify which employers will be exempt from having to cover contraception costs for their employees.

A number of Christian-run businesses and non-profit organizations object to the rule because some of the drugs they are required to provide to employees cause spontaneous abortions. One example is the Morning-After Pill, which is also known as “Plan B.” That drug’s abortifacient impact is explained in a Family Policy Network policy paper here:

The new rules eliminate some confusion over which organizations qualify for the exemption by requiring employers with religious objections to self-certify that they are non-profits with religion as a core part of their mission. Religiously affiliated organizations that choose to insure themselves would instruct their “third-party administrator” to provide coverage through separate individual health insurance policies.

The U.S. Catholic Church, one of the foes of the contraception mandate, remained mum on the changes.

These changes will not protect “for-profit” corporations that are owned and operated by Christians. As an example, the Hobby Lobby retail chain would still be required to provide abortion-inducing drugs to employees against their will. Hobby Lobby filed a federal lawsuit against the HHS mandate, but failed to gain immediate relief in the U.S. Supreme Court, instead permitting the case to make its way to the High Court after being heard at the circuit court level first.

Hobby Lobby is wholly owned and controlled by the Green family, who are evangelical Christians. The Greens are committed to running their business in accordance with their Christian faith, believing that God wants them to conduct their business in accordance with the Bible.