Wednesday, February 01, 2012

FACT CHECK - - - President Obama Orders Religious Organizations To Violate Their Conscience

By Patty Lynn in Blue United
1) Religious liberty is protected in the regulation: “The Departments seek to provide for a religious accommodation that respects the unique relationship between a house of worship and its employees in ministerial positions,” the interim regulations says. As a result, houses of worship and other religious nonprofits that primarily employ and serve people of the same faith will be exempt and religiously-affiliated employers who do not qualify for the exemption and are not currently offering contraceptive coverage may apply for transitional relief for a one-year period to give them time to determine how to comply with the rule.
2) The regulation expands conscience protections in 8 states:Twenty-eight states already require employers, including most religiously affiliated institutions, to cover contraception in their health plans. The only change is that now they must cover the full cost. In fact, the administration will be expanding conscience protections in eight states, where all religious institutions are required to offer birth control coverage.
3) The regulation does not cover abortions: No matter how much Republicans are hoping to conflate contraception with abortion, Plan B is not an abortifacient. It works in exactly the same way as regular birth control pills.
4) Greater access to contraception reduces unwanted pregnancies and abortions: An overwhelming majority of Americans — virtually all women (more than 99 percent and 98 percent of Catholics) — rely on contraceptives to prevent unintended pregnancies and the regulation protects the religious liberty of women who use birth control for reasons of private conscience. One study has estimated that birth control provided at publicly funded clinics helped prevent almost two million unintended pregnancies and that number will only grow as a result of the new rules.
5) Courts have upheld contraception coverage rules: Courts haveupheld challenges to coverage laws, finding that a neutral, generally applicable law not targeted at religion does not burden the right to free exercise of religion. In fact, there is the possibility that a broader exemption would violate the law and allow religious institutions to pick and choose which regulations to follow. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has found that the exclusion of prescription contraception from an employer-sponsored health planconstitutes sex discrimination because it only burdens women.

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