RCRC Applauds HHS Decision on Contraceptive Coverage, But Still Has Concerns
January 20, 2012
The Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice (RCRC) celebrates the decision by HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on January 20, 2012 to reaffirm the importance of contraceptive services as essential to the new health care plans and requiring that most religious employers comply with this decision. We recognize this is a victory for many women, but her decision not to extend this coverage to all Americans, no matter the religious perspective of their employer, is disappointing. All women deserve access to affordable birth control.
The Sebelius decision permits some religious institutions to refuse to provide contraceptive services if they are devoted to worship and employ and serve people of the same faith. Other religiously-affiliated nonprofits and employers will be required to offer contraceptive coverage with no co-pays or deductibles. In her ruling, Sebelius finalized rules proposed on August 3, 2011. She also allowed some religiously-based institutions to have an additional year to comply with the ruling.
We believe contraceptive services are critical for women’s reproductive health, regardless of religious affiliation. RCRC supports individual decision making about the use of contraception, based on the exercise of an individual’s conscience and values. The Sebelius decision reaffirms the critical need for contraceptive coverage by limiting the types of religiously-based institutions that can refuse to offer these contraceptive services to a narrow group.
Under the health care law, individuals are entitled to contraceptive services with no co-pays or deductibles as preventive health care. This is consistent with the recommendations of the Institute of Medicine, which RCRC supports fully . The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops had lobbied hard for extensive exemptions for religiously affiliated institutions, including universities, hospitals and nonprofits that serve the general public. We opposed those exemptions.
RCRC members, emanating from diverse faith traditions, are committed to upholding the important goals of reproductive justice and health, empowering women and men to make decisions about whether and when to have and bear children within their own moral and religious traditions. Our members believe that our society has a responsibility to ensure that all people have access to the family planning they need, as well as access to the means and ability to raise children in a healthy environment. We continue to support the constitutional right of individuals to exercise their own conscience.
Read more about the letter from clergy to the White House on Huffington Post
Statement by the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice on Obama Administration’s Announcement Making Women’s Health Care Coverage a Priority
Religious Organizations Testify About Religious Exemptions; Cite Threats to Conscience Rights and Access to Care
November 2, 2011
Statements Delivered to U.S. House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee Subcommittee on Health hearing November 2, 2011, entitled: “Do New Health Law Mandates Threaten Conscience Rights and Access to Care?”
Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice
Catholics for Choice
Concerned Clergy for Choice
National Council of Jewish Women
United Methodist Church General Board of Church and Society
United Church of Christ