The debate over Obama Administration regulations implementing a mandate that employers provide certain types of women’s health services, free of charge, as part of their health insurance plans – and how this mandate applies to religious institutions and their employees continues.
Yesterday, was the deadline for filing official comments with the Department of Health & Human Services on the latest version of proposed Obama Administration regulations implementing the policy. Many organizations and individuals with deep concerns over the proposed regulation and how it would infringe upon religious liberty have expressed their views formally and informally.
The Orthodox Union filed formal comments last year in the last round of this process. We were encouraged that the last revisions by the Administration took into account some of our concerns, but we remain concerned.
Orthodox Judaism does not share the same religious view toward the use of contraception as our Catholic and other Christian friends, but we resolutely share the same passion and commitment to religious liberty and the principle that the government must respect and accommodate religious liberty, even in the service of other laudable policy goals.
We appreciate the Obama Administration’s ongoing effort to resolve this balance properly and its abandonment of what would have been a very harmful precedent in its primary definition of religious institutions entitled to a full exemption. We continue to have concerns about how the mandate will be applied in practical cases and will continue to advocate – to the Administration, Congress and in the courts – for a robust application of religious liberty principles.