February 27, 2013 — A coalition of antiabortion-rights groups on Monday urged Congress to use a new continuing resolution as a vehicle for a provision that would exempt more employers from the federal contraceptive coverage rules, The Hill's "Healthwatch" reports. The current CR, which is funding the federal government, is set to expire on March 27.
The contraceptive coverage rules, which are being implemented under the Affordable Care Act (PL 111-148), require most health plans to cover contraceptive services, although houses of worship are exempt (Viebeck, "Healthwatch," The Hill, 2/25). On Feb. 1, the Obama administration proposed an accommodation for other religiously affiliated employers under which they would not have to pay for contraceptive coverage but their health plans would provide the coverage directly to employees (Women's Health Policy Report, 2/25). The accommodation would not apply to employers that are not explicitly religious but oppose contraception, such as many antiabortion-rights groups.
According to "Healthwatch," the coalition comprises 38 national, state and local antiabortion-rights groups. The groups have launched an online campaign that allows supporters to contact their congressional representatives to call for a broader accommodation.
Marjorie Dannenfelser -- president of Susan B. Anthony List, one of the groups -- said in a statement, "There must be no religious 'test' by the government as to who, and what type of entities, are entitled to a conscience" ("Healthwatch," The Hill, 2/25).