WASHINGTON (CNS) — Exemptions from certain requirements for contraceptive coverage in the Affordable Care Act will be broadened to include many more types of religious institutions and accommodate the needs of self-insured church entities.
A new set of proposed rules announced Feb. 1 by the Department of Health and Human Services appear to accommodate many of the objections raised by Catholic institutions, among others, that said the previous rules would force them to stop providing employee health insurance because the federal requirement to include contraceptive coverage violate their religious beliefs.
The expanded exemptions would cover religious institutions of higher education and charitable agencies that do not discriminate on the basis of religion as to whom they serve or employ.
The proposed rules specify, however, that no exemption will be given to “for-profit, secular employers.” Some for-profit entities such as Christian-owned toy retailer Hobby Lobby have sued the federal government over the contraceptive mandate, saying that it violates the religious beliefs of the owners and the faith-based company outlook, and so they should be entitled to a religious exemption.
A brief statement from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops said the conference welcomed “the opportunity to study the proposed regulations closely. We look forward to issuing a more detailed statement later.”
(CatholicPhilly.com will update this story as new information emerges.)
Join the CatholicPhilly.com family
CatholicPhilly.com works to strengthen the connections between people, families and communities every day by delivering the news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live.
By your donation in any amount, you and hundreds of other people become part of our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community and sustain CatholicPhilly.com as your trusted news source. Thank you in advance!
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103