Statement of Eleanor Smeal, President of the Feminist Majority Foundation, on Proposed Policies for Contraceptive Coverage and Religious Organizations
The Feminist Majority Foundation applauds the Obama Administration's continued commitment to women's access to contraceptive coverage under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The proposed rules released today by Health and Human Services operationalize the Obama Administration's commitment to requiring health insurance coverage under the ACA to provide birth control without co-pays or deductibles. Employees who work at religiously affiliated institutions such as hospitals and universities/colleges will be covered seamlessly by the insurance provider or plan administrator. The sole exception is narrowly construed to only houses of worship that object and can deny coverage to their employees.
Although we disagree with any exception, we believe that these proposed rules represent for millions of women an historic advancement in basic health care. It is unconscionable that religious institutions would even attempt to use the ACA to prohibit insurance coverage for basic preventive care that women need but too often cannot afford.
FMF enthusiastically supports the ACA and the many advances it is making for women's health care and lives. We believe that the full implementation of the ACA, with the comprehensive preventive care for women, will result in saving countless women's lives, pain, and suffering.
11/20/2014 Federal Appeals Court Rejects Priests for Life Challenge to Birth Control Coverage Rule - In a victory for women's health, a unanimous panel of the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit on Friday rejected a challenge to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) contraceptive coverage benefit brought by Priests for Life, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Washington and other religiously affiliated non-profit organizations.
Judge Nina Pillard, a former law professor who was nominated to the DC Circuit by President Obama and confirmed by the Senate in December, wrote the opinion for the Court, which found that the ACA birth control benefit did not substantially burden or violate non-profits' religious freedom.
Under the Affordable Care Act, health insurance companies must cover the full cost of all FDA-approved contraceptives - including the pill, IUDs, and emergency contraception - without requiring co-pays or cost-sharing. . . .