"At a very high level, this appears to be a common sense, balanced rule".
Mark Rienzi is a lawyer for Becket, which argued on behalf of the Little Sisters, reacted. Employers have had the ability to request a moral or religious exemption under the ACA, but only religious houses of worship were eligible - later broadened by the Hobby Lobby case to include "closely held" private businesses if covering birth control violated their religious beliefs.
Senior Health and Human Services officials who spoke to reporters October 5 on the HHS rule on the condition of anonymity said that the exemption to the contraceptive mandate would apply to all the groups that had sued against it. Groups suing the mandate all the way to the Supreme Court include the Little Sisters of the Poor, the Archdiocese of Washington, the Diocese of Pittsburgh, Eternal Word Television Network and some Catholic and other Christian universities. Before the contraception coverage rule, birth control accounted for 30-44% of a woman's out-of-pocket healthcare costs.
"The Trump administration is forcing women to pay for their boss's religious beliefs", said ACLU senior staff attorney Brigitte Amiri. EWTN filed a lawsuit against the government in February 2012, just days after the mandate rules were first published, and we have continued to fight for justice alongside many courageous believers.
President Trump hinted at his plan to roll back the birth control mandate this spring as he signed an executive order on religious freedom.
"No Americans should be forced to choose between the dictates of the federal government and the tenets of their faith", he said, announcing the administration's plan to revisit birth control-related regulations and expand who was eligible for an exemption.
The rule was fiercely opposed by religious employers, which considered it a violation of their religious freedom and sued.
Under an accommodation offered by Obama's HHS, employers with religious objections would notify the government about their objection, and the government then would seek to get the coverage for the affected women through through a third party administrator.
The share of women employees paying for birth control pills has plunged to under 4 percent, from 21 percent, since contraception became a covered preventive health benefit, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. In addition, these rules offer employers, universities, and insurers a seemingly unworkable option of offering any individual who objects to contraceptive coverage a separate insurance plan excluding such coverage; it is unclear how this provision will be implemented. Their case went all the way to the Supreme Court.
The Little Sisters of the Poor have been among the most visible litigants against the federal government whose lawsuit was heard by the Supreme Court in May 2016.
Among those who have resisted the mandate are the Little Sisters of the Poor, an order of Roman Catholic nuns who said that compliance with the mandate would make them "morally complicit in grave sin".
Revised rules give relief to religious nonprofits and others with deeply held religious or moral convictions regarding contraception. "This backwards move is the latest in a long list of unconscionable steps taken by an Administration apparently unconcerned with the financial, physical, and psychological wellbeing of millions of American women and their families", Blumenthal said in a statement on Friday.