Last Friday’s “update” by the Department of Health and Human Services to its rule mandating employer coverage of abortion-inducing drugs, contraception, and sterilization leaves in place a rule that will force some Americans to violate their religious beliefs. Explains Sarah Torre:
HHS’s “notice of proposed rulemaking” does not change the coercive mandate that is currently forcing countless employers to provide and pay for coverage of abortion-inducing drugs, contraception, and sterilization in their employee health plans—regardless of moral or religious objection.
Instead, HHS feigns to extend protection of religious freedom by proposing a slight expansion to an offensively narrow religious exemption and providing an “accommodation” to certain qualifying non-profit religious groups.
The document is not even final. It is merely an update to the Obama Administration’s “advance notice of proposed rulemaking,” further sketching out its accommodation first released last March.
Even if today’s suggestions were adopted into law, the narrow exemption would cover only formal houses of worship and their integrated auxiliaries. It would fail to encompass many employers—and certainly all individuals—with moral or religious objections to complying with the mandate.
The latest proposal fails to protect businesses such as Tyndale House, the nation’s largest Bible publisher; or Hercules Industries, a family-owned and operated HVAC company; or Hobby Lobby, an arts and crafts retailer—all of which seek to operate according to deeply held religious and moral beliefs.