Obamacare will force church-affiliated institutions to have insurance policies that will give employees free contraceptives (without even the usual co-pay!). There will be no exemption for Roman Catholics who disapprove of birth control as a matter of doctrine:
via Birth control: Feds say many church-affiliated employers must cover but grant 1-year extension – The Washington Post.
Many church-affiliated institutions will have to cover free birth control for employees, the Obama administration announced Friday in an election-year move that outraged religious groups, fueling a national debate about the reach of government.
In a concession, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said nonprofit institutions such as church-affiliated hospitals, colleges and social service agencies will have one additional year to comply with the requirement, issued in regulations under President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul.
“I believe this proposal strikes the appropriate balance between respecting religious freedom and increasing access to important preventive services,” Sebelius said in a statement.
Yet the concession was unlikely to stop a determined effort by opponents to block or overturn the rule. If they fail, some predicted that religious employers would simply drop coverage for their workers, opting instead to pay fines to the federal government under the health care law.
“Never before has the federal government forced individuals and organizations to go out into the marketplace and buy a product that violates their conscience,” said New York Cardinal-designate Timothy Dolan, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. “This shouldn’t happen in a land where free exercise of religion ranks first in the Bill of Rights.”
Churches construed narrowly as houses of worship would be exempt, but not hospitals, schools, universities, and ministries.
Here is the kicker for Christians who may not oppose birth control but who do oppose abortion: The government is classifying the Morning After pill, which prevents the fertilized egg from implanting thus killing the embryo, as a contraceptive! From the same article:
Workplace health plans will have to cover all forms of contraception approved by the Food and Drug Administration, ranging from the pill to implantable devices to sterilization. Also covered is the morning-after pill, which can prevent pregnancy after unprotected sex and is considered as tantamount to an abortion drug by some religious conservatives.
This means that Christian organizations that oppose abortion as a matter of religious conviction will be required by law to pay for abortifacients and thus violate their religious convictions.