WASHINGTON—Elizabeth G. Taylor, executive director of the National Health Law Program (NHeLP) released the following statement in response to interim final and proposed rules from the U.S. Departments of Treasury, Labor, and Health and Human Services. These rules seek to augment and extend the “accommodation” available to organizations that have religious objections to covering contraception in their employee and student health plans, while preserving enrollees’ access to all FDA-approved contraceptive methods without cost-sharing as required by the Affordable Care Act. In response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent order in Wheaton College v. Burwell, the interim final regulations outline an alternative process that an eligible organization may use to provide notice of its religious objection. A separate proposed rule seeks public comment on potential changes to the definition of organizations eligible for the accommodation in light of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc.
“While we continue to believe the Court’s decisions in Hobby Lobby and Wheaton College were wrong and impose dangerous barriers to women’s health services, we welcome these efforts by the Administration to ensure that women have access to contraception no matter where they work or go to school,” said Taylor. “We call upon Congress to enact legislation to provide necessary relief, and look forward to working with the Departments to make sure that all women have access to health care that meets their needs. Contraception is a critical preventive health care service necessary for women’s health and well-being.”