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Sat Feb 2, 2013, 01:56 PM

Everything You Need To Know About The Administration’s New Birth Control Rules

Everything You Need To Know About The Administration’s New Birth Control Rules

By Igor Volsky

The Obama administration has released new regulations that help clarify which religious groups and organizations can opt out of providing birth control, as required under the Affordable Care Act, exempting most religiously affiliated groups from the requirement while ensuring that women will continue to receive birth control at no cost.

The law specifies that employers and insurers must provide a wide array of women’s health benefits, including contraception without additional co-pays. Houses of worship are exempt from the requirement. Nonprofit religiously affiliated organizations can also refuse to offer birth control coverage, though their employees may obtain contraception coverage that is part of their insurance plans directly from the insurer without additional cost to them or the companies.

The new rules make small changes to this agreement.

First, the federal government will apply the Internal Revenue Services’ definition for religious organization, which is slightly broader than how the term had been defined. Here is a comparison:


This change also clarifies that “a house of worship would not be excluded from the exemption because, for example, it provides charitable social services to persons of different religious faiths or employs persons of different religious faiths.” Significantly, the rule draws a line at non-profit organizations and would not permit for-profit entities (companies like Hobby Lobby, for instance) to take advantage of the religious exemption.

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Obama Administration Issues Proposed Contraception Rule

WASHINGTON – The ACLU applauds the Obama administration for its continued commitment to ensuring women have access to affordable birth control. Today, the Department of Health and Human Services released a proposed rule implementing the requirement that insurance plans cover contraception.

“The bottom line is that the administration continues to stand with women to ensure they have access to basic health services,” said Sarah Lipton-Lubet, ACLU policy counsel. “Over the last year, we’ve seen a disturbing number of instances where employers are trying to impose their religious beliefs on a diverse workforce that does not share them, and opponents of the law have made it clear that they won’t rest until no insurance plan, whatever the source, is required to cover contraception. We look forward to continuing to work with the Obama administration to make sure that every woman has access to affordable birth control.”

The ACLU has long worked to advocate for insurance coverage for contraception and has filed over a dozen amicus briefs in the numerous cases currently challenging the Obama administration’s contraceptive coverage rule. The briefs have argued the legality of the rule and emphasized that the right to religious freedom does not include the right to discriminate. The courts have so held in other contexts involving race and gender discrimination and should similarly reject the claims of plaintiffs in these cases.


Planned Parenthood Says New Regulations Ensure Women Can Get Birth Control at No Cost

WASHINGTON - Planned Parenthood Federation of America today said that the revised accommodation to the Affordable Care Act’s birth control benefit will ensure that women can access no co-pay birth control as part of basic health care. Following is a statement issued by Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America:

“This policy delivers on the promise of women having access to birth control without co-pays no matter where they work. Of course, we are reviewing the technical aspects of this proposal, but the principle is clear and consistent. This policy makes it clear that your boss does not get to decide whether you can have birth control.

“Birth control is a basic and essential component of women’s preventive health care. Women have been fighting for access to birth control for decades, and this is a historic advance for both health care and equality. As one of the nation’s leading providers of reproductive health care, Planned Parenthood has led the charge for access to contraception for nearly a century and will continue to work tirelessly to ensure that women have access to birth control without hurdles or co-pays.”

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