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White House 'Accommodation' on Abortifacient and Contraception Coverage: Smoke and Mirrors

12:16 PM, Feb 10, 2012 • By JOHN MCCORMACK
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Late this morning, a senior Obama administration official talked to reporters about the latest tweak to its mandate that private insurers must cover of contraception and abortifacients:

"If a woman's employer a charity a hospital or another religious organization that has a religious objection to providing contraceptive services as part of its health plan, the policy going forward will be her insurance company, not the hospital, not the charity, will be required to reach out directly and offer her contraceptive care free of charge. So those institutions will not have to offer contraceptive coverage directly, and they will not have to pay for it." 

Yuval Levin explains that the "newly proposed rule would not actually change the moral circumstances at issue in any way."

The problem that opponents of the original rule have had is that it effectively requires religious employers to purchase a product (an insurance policy) that provides their employers with free access to contraceptive and abortifacient drugs that they would not have otherwise had, and thus requires those employers to purchase a product that violates their religious convictions. The new rule does exactly the same thing.

It puts religious employers in the position of having to choose between providing their workers with free (to the workers) access to contraceptives and abortifacient drugs or not providing those workers with health insurance at all (and also paying a large fine). The only difference is that the access to those contraceptive and abortifacient drugs would not technically be listed as one of the benefits the employer was paying for directly but would be listed as a benefit the insurer was paying for (with the money the employer paid for the broader insurance policy, of course). But employers who offer insurance don’t pay for individual benefits and products when they are provided anyway, they pay for the policy that gives their workers access to those benefits and products when they want them

Planned Parenthood enthusiastically supports the White House's proposal.

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