The Department of Health and Human Services issued a final rule this week that gives protections to companies and organizations who object to providing abortion-inducing drugs to their employees as part of their health care plans.
The controversy dates back to the Obama administration when HHS issued rules forcing companies – including some religious organizations – to cover drugs that can induce a chemical abortion. That sparked a series of lawsuits by Christian colleges, universities and other religious groups.
The Trump administration overturned those requirements. On Wednesday HHS issued its final rule that provides “conscience protections to Americans who have a religious or moral objection to health insurance that covers contraceptive methods,” including “certain contraceptives that many view as abortifacients, and/or sterilization procedures,” according to a summary of the new rule on the HHS website. The new rules do not apply to publicly traded companies.
The Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, did not require such coverage. Legal groups that specialize in religious liberty issues applauded the action.
“The beliefs that inspire Christian colleges and universities, as well as groups like the Little Sisters of the Poor, to serve their communities should be protected,” said Gregory S. Baylor of Alliance Defending Freedom. “Through these regulations, President Trump kept his promise that people of faith wouldn’t be bullied on his watch. At the same time, contraceptives will remain readily available to those who wish to use them.”
Michael Foust is a freelance writer. Visit his blog, MichaelFoust.com
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Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, The Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.