Faith Leaders Welcome Leaked HHS Draft Loosening Contraception Mandate

A leaked draft copy of the rule from the Department of Health and Human Services would exempt religious groups from the contraceptive mandate of the Affordable Care Act.

The draft was welcomed by faith leaders, religious freedom advocates  and attorneys representing the Little Sisters of the Poor, one of the groups that challenged the mandate at the U.S. Supreme Court.  Here are a few of those hopeful statements:

Becket Fund: “Better late than never,” said Mark Rienzi, senior counsel with Becket. “At long last the United States government acknowledges that people can get contraceptives without forcing nuns to provide them. That is sensible, fair, and in keeping with the Supreme Court’s order and the President’s promise to the Little Sisters and other religious groups serving the poor.”

United States Conference of Catholic Bishops: “While they have yet to be formally issued and will require close study upon publication, the leaked regulations provide encouraging news. If issued, these regulations would appropriately broaden the existing exemption to a wider range of stakeholders with religious or moral objections to the mandated coverage—not just houses of worship. This not only would eliminate an unwarranted governmental division of our religious community ‘between our houses of worship and our great ministries of service to our neighbors,’ but would also lift the government-imposed burden on our ministries ‘to violate their own teachings within their very own institutions.’

Russell Moore President of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention said in a tweet: “I very much like what I’ve seen of the reported draft of the new HHS rule on the contraceptive mandate and the rights of conscience. If this is the rule, it would be a very good move.”

Alliance Defending Freedom: “Americans should always have the freedom to peacefully operate according to their beliefs without fear of severe penalties by the government. The proposed HHS regulation regarding the Obamacare abortion-pill mandate would, if made final, protect conscientiously objecting employers from having to choose between paying crippling fines or providing morally objectionable abortion-inducing drugs, sterilization, or contraception. The government has put forward a common-sense solution that ensures that Americans won’t be forced to violate their deepest convictions while maintaining multiple ways for people to obtain the drugs in question if they want them. We commend President Trump and his administration for taking quick action to demonstrate their resolve to make religious liberty a first priority.”

Heritage Foundation:A leaked draft copy indicates that, where the Obama administration proposed wholly inadequate “accommodations” for religious liberty, the Trump administration intends to provide a definitive exemption for individuals, employers, and insurers with religious or moral objections to all or some of the Department of Health and Human Services mandate. This is sound policy that should be finalized to defend religious liberty, as President Donald Trump has promised to do.”


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