Join CFI in Telling the Obama Administration to Stand Its Ground and Finalize Birth Control Rule

June 12, 2012

The Center for Inquiry (CFI) on Tuesday, June 12, submitted formal comments that urge the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to make final a rule requiring health insurance providers and organizations providing health care plans to cover preventive health services, such as birth control and contraception, without charging a co-payment.

As you are probably know, the proposed rule has faced fierce opposition from religious groups. For example, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has argued that the requirements make for bad health policy and violate the “conscience” of some religious individuals and religiously affiliated employers, allegedly infringing their “religious freedom.” The Bishops want the rule rescinded, or its exemption clause radically expanded.

CFI believes the USCCB fails to recognize the scientific basis of the rules, and displays a regrettable lack of understanding of the concept of religious freedom. We also believe HHS has provided sufficient accommodation to religiously affiliated groups. Our letter outlines the reasons in support of our position. 

Yet if HHS chooses to follow the Bishops’ logic, hundreds of thousands of women could be left without preventative health coverage simply because of their employer’s religiously motivated objections. This is unacceptable.

That’s why we need your help. HHS is allowing public comments on the new guidelines until Tuesday, June 19, 2012. Here’s how you can get involved:

1.   Visit

2.   In the search field, type the following: CMS–9968–ANPRM.

3.   Scroll to the top result and click on “Submit a Comment.”

This drawn out debate over something as basic as birth control is a perfect example of the harmful influence of religious institutions on public policy. Send a message to policy makers at HHS right now and tell them it’s time to finalize the contraceptive rule and move on.

Remember, the deadline is Tuesday, June 19, 2012!

Thank you.

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#1 slowe on Tuesday June 19, 2012 at 11:50am

I wrote them the following comment:
Since Catholic or other religious hospitals operate to aid the general public and engage any qualified staff with no religious requirements, they should expect and be required to participate without special exemptions in the larger civil society in which they operate and strive to serve.  Employees should not be punished and denied or be required to pay for legal and covered health services ( birth control, etc.) because of the religious convictions of their employer.  If the employer want s this kind of arrangement they should: Hire ONLY personal who agree with their religious rules,  serve ONLY patients who accept and follow these religious rules.  These hospitals should not expect to get tax relief and government subsidies if they want to operate outside of the legal code of the society in which they operate.  Religious Educational institutions should operate with the same requirements. The staff and personnel may and have a right to personally and individually choose to follow their own religious tenants which may or may not be those of the institution, but the institution should not be able to impose it’s religious morality on the general public whom they serve and employee.  The limits of separation of church and state and of religious exemptions should apply ONLY to houses of worship and not the associated civil institutions which they operate as public institutions - i.e. hospitals and colleges.  DO NOT deny employees of these religious intuitions access to and coverage for legal reproductive health care services.

#2 slowe on Tuesday June 19, 2012 at 12:30pm

Isn’t it interesting that both the HQ of the Catholic heircharchy in American, the US Conference of Catholic Bishops ( USCCB)  AND Providence Hospital -the hospital in the Bradfield v. Roberts case, are both in DC and only blocks from each other near Catholic University.  Perhaps some sidewalk demonstrations in the near future could be arranged to protest their double standards and oppposition to religious liberty and women’s rights.

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