Friday, February 10, 2012
contraceptive coverage 2.0
President Obama's latest proposed change in how contraceptives are covered by employer health insurance may not have ended the controversy that has raged for the past three weeks. But what the administration is calling an "accommodation" for religious employers has apparently mollified key allies who had opposed his original plan.
Speaking in the White House Briefing Room flanked by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, the president said he was not backing away from the "core principle" that "women will still have access to free preventive care that includes contraceptive services — no matter where they work."
But at the same time, he said, "we've been mindful that there's another principle at stake here — and that's the principle of religious liberty."
The original proposal would have made churches, synagogues and other houses of worship exempt, but not religion-sponsored hospitals, universities and charities.
His contraceptive coverage 2.0 will allow those latter institutions to also opt out, but women will be guaranteed no-cost access to contraception by a requirement that the institution's insurance company offer the coverage instead.
"The result will be that religious organizations won't have to pay for these services, and no religious institution will have to provide these services directly," Obama said. "But women who work at these institutions will have access to free contraceptive services, just like other women, and they'll no longer have to pay hundreds of dollars a year that could go towards paying the rent or buying groceries."
Women's groups were pleased by the announcement AND SO AM I.