Trump Admin Expands Exemptions for Religious Groups Opposed to Obamacare Abortion Pill Mandate

WASHINGTON — The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has issued “interim final rules” that would expand protections for religious employers who are opposed to the contraceptive mandate in Obamacare, also known as the “abortion pill mandate.”

“Upon further examination of the relevant provisions of the Affordable Care Act and the administrative record on which the mandate was based, the departments have concluded that the application of the mandate to entities with sincerely-held religious objections to it does not serve a compelling governmental interest,” the document reads.

It provides numerous reasons as to why the government believes that religious organizations should be granted relief from the requirement, including that many religious employers that had challenged the mandate are not opposed to all contraceptives, but only those that are considered to be potential abortifacients.

“For example, the plaintiffs in Hobby Lobby were willing to provide coverage with no cost sharing of 14 of 18 FDA-approved women’s contraception and sterilization methods,” the 163-page document outlines.

Therefore, the accommodation requested—in the view of the government—was reasonable.

“With respect to organizations and entities holding those beliefs, the fact that they are willing to provide coverage for various contraceptive methods significantly detracts from the government interest in requiring that they provide coverage for other contraceptive methods to which they object,” HHS explains.

The department also recognizes that religious nonprofits were wrongfully being treated differently than churches, even though they operate similarly to houses of worship and hire people of faith just like churches do.

  • Connect with Christian News

“After considering the differential treatment of various religious nonprofit organizations under the previous accommodation, the departments conclude that it is appropriate to expand the exemption to other religious nonprofit organizations with sincerely held religious beliefs opposed to contraceptive coverage,” it writes.

The department further notes that “[s]ome of the religious nonprofit groups challenging the accommodation claim that their employees are required to adhere to a statement of faith which includes the entities’ views on certain contraceptive items,” and such organizations have a right to choose to hire individuals based on whether or not they will respect the organization’s values.

It additionally advises that there are numerous government programs that provide free or low-cost contraceptives for women, and therefore, there is not a compelling government interest to force religious employers to have to provide them as well.

“Various state programs supplement the federal programs … and 28 states have their own mandates of contraceptive coverage as a matter of state law,” HHS explains. “This existing inter-governmental structure for obtaining contraceptives significantly diminishes the government’s interest in applying the mandate to employers over their sincerely held religious objections.”

Pro-life and family organizations cheered the move, stating that people of faith should not be forced to violate their beliefs.

“Although organizations that filed civil rights lawsuits will still need final relief from the courts, it is encouraging to see the Trump administration affirm the principle that all Americans should be free to peacefully live and work according to their faith and conscience without threat of government punishment,” said Gregory Baylor of Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF).

“The federal government should never force Christian ministries to violate their faith or face crippling fines in order to continue their mission. We commend President Trump for fulfilling his promise to uphold the religious liberties of these organizations under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act,” also said Mat Staver of Liberty Counsel.

“There’s no other way to describe it: today’s administrative action is a tremendous victory for conscience and religious freedom,” said CeCe Heil of the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ).

As previously reported, in May, President Trump signed an executive order that included a recommendation that HHS consider amending regulations to accommodate the conscience objections to the contraceptive mandate.

Numerous religious businesses, schools and nonprofit organizations had sued the Obama administration over the mandate, with the most high-profile cases being Burwell v. Hobby Lobby and Zubik v. Burwell, the latter of which was consolidated from seven lawsuits that included East Texas Baptist University and the Roman Catholic Little Sisters of the Poor.


A special message from the publisher...

Dear Reader, because of your generous support, we have received enough funds to send many audio Bibles to Iraqi and Syrian refugees displaced by ISIS in the Middle East. Many have been distributed and received with gladness. While we provide for the physical needs of the people, we seek to provide the eternal hope only found in Jesus Christ through the word of God. Would you join us by making a donation today to this important work? Please click here to send an audio Bible to a refugee family >>

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
  • Robin Egg

    Excellent. A step in the right direction.

  • BuckeyePhysicist

    Glorificamus te!

    • Amos Moses – He>i

      not sure what that means but i am going to upvote it …………

      • LOL @ Amos!!!

      • BuckeyePhysicist

        Thank you! It means, “Glory to You!”

  • MCrow

    I’m guessing suddenly a lot of CEOs will “find religion” to avoid giving health care to their workers. It’s opening a door that’s going to cause a lot of issues

    • They never should have been saddled with it in the first place.

      • Jerome Horwitz

        Exactly. Why should anyone be forced to pay for someone else’s contraception period? Would you do that with Tylenol?

        • Tangent002

          The Pill is not available over-the-counter.

          • Jerome Horwitz

            What does that have to do with anything?

          • Osamao

            So?

      • MCrow

        No? So the taxpayers should instead? Because that’s where it’s going to end up.

        • No not the tax payers instead. The ones using it are the ones that should pay for it. Personal responsibility.

          • MCrow

            Except that’s not what’s happening. They are instead turning to state provided healthcare

          • MCrow

            I should probably note that I’m for socialized healthcare since we have the capability of solving health issues…so we should do so. “Personal responsibility” with health care is, frankly, telling people it’s their fault if they are human.

          • Except for vary rare cases birth control is not health care.

          • MCrow

            Women argue that it is. I’m gonna go ahead and believe them over you

    • Kirk

      Prove it.

      Nothing but nonsensical paranoid speculation.

      • MCrow

        You’re right: they will just sue stating that they should not have to provide it period. Now that there’s legal precedent, they can just tie things up and make it so they don’t need to.

        • Osamao

          Fahke off Domestic Enemy Communist Democrat Antifa Terrorist Pig!

          • MCrow

            Insult on insult. You have a point in there, or do you just want to yell? Also, to the community at large, is this what you consider acceptable Christian behavior?

          • Osamao

            Insults aren’t insults if they’re true.
            Cute post coming from an antichristian Antifa domestic enemy terrorist. Then again condescending arrogance is an inbred trait with you useful idiot tools. I’ll bet you’re an angry Generation WTFAMI ! You’re really having trouble accepting the reality of your Communist revolution fail huh?
            You Generation WTFAMI’s are seriously Fahked once all the adults die.

          • MCrow

            1) Not a communist. Might shock you, but I can like some socialized aspects like universal health care without being a Maoist or Stalinist.
            2) Not antifa – Anarchism is a wide ranging movement, and antifa falls under insurrectionists. I fall under anarchosyndiclism.
            3) Not a terrorist. I’ve not once threatened violence, unlike you, who has declared he wants to hunt human beings.

            If you are an exemplar of what it is to be a Christian, than I want less to do with your religion than I did at first. And given your attitude, I doubt very much you are older than I am. If you are…well, how is retirement treating you?

          • Osamao

            Blah?……Neurotic lefty freak babbling like a lefty freak. Were purging you leftist scum whether you like it or not. Should have been done a long time ago. Keep taunting us now. I can’t wait until mid-terms. ………………..FLUSH!

          • MCrow

            *We’re

        • Bob Johnson

          I am not so sure. The medical cost of a pregnancy, plus maternity leave, and associated costs makes providing birth control coverage an attractive option.

    • Osamao

      The Dems. did it when they decided to shove Obamaocare down our throats.
      Too bad if you don’t like the unintended consequences of it.

      • MCrow

        The Republicans came up with the plan. Why do you think they have such a hard time repealing it? Also, my main objection to Obamacare is that it didn’t socialize healthcare enough, so barking up the wrong tree

        • Osamao

          “The Republicans came up with the plan.” is a half truth or Liberal LIE. And Obamaocare was meant to destroy our health care and force socialized medicine. Si. It’s really a crime against the American People. Socialism is unconstitutional. Move to Venezuela. You’ll love it.

          • MCrow

            I live in Japan. I have socialized healthcare. I know many other people from Europe and Canada with socialized healthcare. We all agree the taxes spent on that are well worth it.

            Also, speaking of lies, socialism isn’t against the constitution, and in no ways is passing a law to try to provide people health care a crime. But I’m sure a scholar such as yourself can point out where the constitution says that

          • Osamao

            Typical condescending ,arrogant passive aggressive back biting Communist Democrat Traitor response.
            Socialism is the antithesis of individual liberty moron.

          • MCrow

            Using taxes to help sick people get healthy isn’t going to destroy individual liberty. I note you don’t actually answer my question, so I’ll just assume you can’t and resort to insults. Plenty of countries have both individual liberties and universal health care.

          • Osamao

            What I said. Too bad if you don’t like the truth.

          • MCrow

            …I’m going to tell you to use proper English sentence structure and grammar as I have no idea what you just said

          • Osamao

            Pointing out incorrect grammar is racist now. Haven’t you heard yet? It’s also a sad testament to Public Ed.

          • MCrow

            If you want to claim your inability to use your primary language correctly as a “sad testament,” who am I to argue?

          • Osamao

            That’s not what I said Lying Dem.

          • MCrow

            I’m not a democrat, you should only capitalize when giving a proper noun, and you are just a little bundle of anger, aren’t you? If you want to give an argument, let me know. Otherwise, your tactics so far are schoolyard insults and unsupported propaganda that is about half a century out of date.

          • Osamao

            What did I tell you about correcting grammar!! ……..You A. Hole Orwellian Communist Democrat control freaks declared that to be racist. You’re not a Democrat?………….But Democrats lie like Communists so……….

          • MCrow

            You told me what I’m supposed to believe. Ironic from someone declaring me to be “Orwellian” as that is effectively what the Party did to people who disagreed with them.

            And no, I’m not a democrat. I’m an anarchist. I know, scary, terrible, blah blah.

            Keep at the insults, though. You have no valid points and it shows.

          • Osamao

            No. Those were orders of your Democrat masters idiot.
            O.M.G. You are too aggravatingly stupid to deal with……….Even for a useful idiot tool Communist Democrat So you’re a Communist Democrat Antifa Terrorist Domestic Enemy Traitor? The enemy within that’s to much of a coward to admit it. Can’t wait until we declare hunting season on you mothers!

          • MCrow

            “No gods, no masters” is an anarchist mantra for a reason. I don’t follow the democrats. I certainly don’t follow what you say the democrats say.

            You have yet to state any actual articulate point. All you’re doing is tossing around insults. If that’s what you need to feel like a big strong man, please continue. It amuses me to no end.

  • james blue

    Non religious employers should also be given and exemption from religious accommodation laws.

    • You want some cheese with that whine?

      • james blue

        Make a case as to why we should be forcing employers to accommodate our faith while demanding we shouldn’t have to accommodate those who don’t agree with our faith

        • Jerome Horwitz

          First Amendment. It may surprise you to learn it doesn’t say what YOU want it to say.

          • BuckeyePhysicist

            The First Amendment mandates birth control coverage? Where?

          • Jerome Horwitz

            Ask Jimmy Blue that. He’s the one who seems to believe it.

          • BuckeyePhysicist

            Excellent point. It appears I replied to the wrong poster.

          • james blue

            Please quote where I suggested anything of the sort about that.

          • james blue

            By all means quote where I said anything of the sort

          • james blue

            It may surprise you to learn it doesn’t say what YOU want it to say.

            The first amendment DOES NOT protect us from the private sector. It ONLY protects us from Government.

          • Jerome Horwitz

            What are you even talking about? What does any of this have to do with people being forced to pay for someone else’s BCPs?

          • james blue

            Didn’t suggest it did. I responded to your ludicrous theory that the first amendment mandates private citizens and businesses have to accommodate our faith.

          • Jerome Horwitz

            Yep. I guess you somehow misunderstood the phrase, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…?”

          • james blue

            Okay, well you are just trolling again…so…..

          • Jerome Horwitz

            And you are still a bigot…so…

          • Osamao

            Run away now. Facts suck don’t they.

          • james blue

            And now the troll has a troll girlfriend stepping in

          • Osamao

            Me? Nope. I was just responding to an A.Hole. a.k.a. you all by myself.
            Imagine that huh?

  • People should have always been responsible for paying for their own birth control. Why should anyone else be responsible for it? If you can’t afford to pay then don’t play.

    • james blue

      Want some crackers to go with your whine and cheese?

    • LynnRH

      My feelings exactly Doug. I’ve wondered why I should have to pay for someone else’s birth control too. No one ever offered to pay for mine back in the day when I needed them. Course I never, every thought anyone else should. LOL

    • Osamao

      We used to pay for it until Obamao used it as another tool to divide us with.

  • This style 10/6

    Why is it that religion is so concerned with people’s sex lives? It often seems that that is the only thing it is concerned with.

    • BuckeyePhysicist

      Why did God create us? Let’s start there.

      • This style 10/6

        God didn’t!

        • Osamao

          How do you know he didn’t?

          • This style 10/6

            God is a human construct. Everything we know about religions shows this.

          • Osamao

            That’s subjective. I disagree.

          • This style 10/6

            OK.

    • Osamao

      Why are Democrats such control freaks?…………Lets start there.

      • This style 10/6

        Non sequitur.

        • Osamao

          Because you said so?………. You’re a Statist. Want to talk unconstitutional?………..Please!

  • Osamao

    We used to pay for it ourselves until the Divider in Chief Chairman Bao. FORWARD!
    Liberal Tyranny Sucks.

    • james blue

      Does conservative tyranny “suck”?

      • Osamao

        You mean freedom and Individual liberty…………Only to you Statists.

        • james blue

          If conservatives were for freedom and individual liberty they would be libertarians and they most certainly are NOT that