The political nonprofit Catholics United issued a statement Friday hailing the Obama administration's proposed change to the contraception mandate — an area of the new federal health care law that drew intense scorn from various religious groups and Republican lawmakers last year.
The Obama Administration today announced the long-awaited rule clarifying the Health and Human Services preventative health care regulations, which universally covers women’s access to birth control.
The new rule eliminates the so-called “four part test” for what constitutes an exempted religious employer and broadens the definition of organizations eligible to opt-out of contraceptive coverage to any IRS-designated “religious employer.”
Self-insurers will no longer be expected to provide contraceptive coverage, which will now be covered completely by the coming health care exchanges. Religious employers will see no change, as an employee’s insurer would be wholly responsible for the cost of preventative care.
“This is a victory not only for the Obama Administration, but for the Catholic Church,” said James Salt, executive director of Catholics United. “As Catholics United said from the very beginning, reasonable people knew it was right to be patient and hopeful that all sides could come together to solve this complex issue. The White House deserves praise in alleviating the Church’s concerns.”
Salt said the Catholic Church also won today by maintaining a recognition that issues of morality and personal choice must be respected.
“As sensible Americans already know, and this new rule affirms, religious identity is protected and cherished in this country,” said Salt. “The divisive right-wing myth that religious liberty is somehow attacked has been thoroughly debunked, and today’s ruling is just another nail in that coffin. Now the Church can focus on what brings us together: serving the least among us, including the poor and marginalized.”
Founded in 2004, Catholics United, and its educational arm, Catholics United Education Fund, are non-profit, non-partisan organizations dedicated to promoting the message of justice and the common good found at the heart of the Catholic Social Tradition.