Washington, D.C. – Today, the Department of Health and Human Services released a revised rule intended to reconcile religious freedom concerns with the new health care law’s requirement that all women have access to coverage for contraception. In response, Interfaith Alliance President Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy issued the following statement raising concerns that while the new proposal theoretically ensures women have access to covered contraception, successful implementation of such a rule might be more complicated.
On the surface, HHS’ new proposed rule looks like a workable solution to a complicated problem, but it is not without danger in terms of precedent and implementation. While the plan appears to provide a means to take faith-based organizations out of the middle of the relationship between an employee and the insurance company – thereby ensuring coverage for contraceptives without the employer ever having to hear about it – the real question is whether such a model can be successfully implemented.
Furthermore, we should not be in the position of allowing a single religious perspective to dictate public policy. Will this solution truly serve women who are simply trying to receive the medical care that is their right as well as a means to avoid additional, unfair out-of-pocket costs and to avoid bureaucratic nightmares? And what about the many women whose doctors prescribe contraception for medical reasons other than birth control? I certainly hope that the proposal does all these things, but time will tell.
Interfaith Alliance celebrates religious freedom by championing individual rights, promoting policies that protect both religion and democracy, and uniting diverse voices to challenge extremism. Founded in 1994, Interfaith Alliance brings together members from 75 faith traditions as well as those without a faith tradition to protect faith and freedom. For more information visit www.interfaithalliance.org.