The Corner

Religion

New Conscience Exemption to Contraception Mandate

Sister Loraine McGuire with Little Sisters of the Poor after the Supreme Court heard Zubik v. Burwell, an appeal demanding exemption from providing insurance covering contraception, in Washington, D.C., March 23, 2016. (Joshua Roberts/Reuters)

The Obama Administration went to war with religious dissenters to its HHS rule that required most employers to provide free insurance coverage of contraceptives and the morning after pill. This led to the ridiculous circumstance in which the feds litigated against nuns and to a big Supreme Court loss for Obama in the Hobby Lobby ruling under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

President Trump issued an executive order in May 2017 requiring HHS to reconsider the very narrow conscience exemption its regulations allowed.  That order has now borne fruit. HHS will issue two final rules revising the contraception mandate to relieve those with religious and moral objections from compelled contraceptive insurance coverage.

From the press release: 

The first of today’s final rules provides an exemption from the contraceptive coverage mandate to entities that object to services covered by the mandate on the basis of sincerely held religious beliefs. The second final rule provides protections to nonprofit organizations and small businesses that have non-religious moral convictions opposing services covered by the mandate.

The religious and moral exemptions provided by these rules also apply to institutions of education, issuers, and individuals.

The Departments are not extending the moral exemption to publicly traded businesses, or either exemption to government entities.

That last bit makes great sense. A publicly traded company cannot possibly have a religious or moral position on the question, since its owners are stockholders who will each have different views. And government cannot promote a religious perspective as this would violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.

This is elementary politics and really something the Obama Administration should have allowed from the beginning. Indeed, I believe the naked hostility exhibited by Obama’s HHS to religious liberty contributed mightily to the election of President Trump.  Hillary Clinton would probably have been even more hostile than Obama, which I think, c0nvinced many Christians to vote for Trump–not exactly a man known for personal moral probity–out of sheer self defense.

Demonstrating the point, the accompanying fact sheet states that only about 200 employers of 6400 women will be affected. Granting those companies a conscience exemption in the first place would have saved Obama and the Democrats a lot of grief.

Most Popular

U.S.

Women’s Sports Should Be Women’s Sports

Transgender sports policies make a mockery of women’s competition. Just look at the state of Connecticut. At the 2018 state open for women’s track and field, two young men identifying as transgender took first and second place in the 100m race. Their participation not only deprived young women of their ... Read More
U.S.

Women’s Sports Should Be Women’s Sports

Transgender sports policies make a mockery of women’s competition. Just look at the state of Connecticut. At the 2018 state open for women’s track and field, two young men identifying as transgender took first and second place in the 100m race. Their participation not only deprived young women of their ... Read More
Elections

Bernie’s Houses

Mike Bloomberg scored a hit -- a palpable hit -- in the debate this week when he pointed back at Bernie Sanders and said: “What a wonderful country we have, the best-known socialist in the country happens to be a millionaire with three houses.” Many conservatives laughed and cheered and wondered why Bernie ... Read More
Elections

Bernie’s Houses

Mike Bloomberg scored a hit -- a palpable hit -- in the debate this week when he pointed back at Bernie Sanders and said: “What a wonderful country we have, the best-known socialist in the country happens to be a millionaire with three houses.” Many conservatives laughed and cheered and wondered why Bernie ... Read More

Elon Musk’s Plan to Settle Mars

He who follows Freedom, let him leave his homeland, and risk his life. — Adam Mickiewicz, Polish poet, 1832 Last week my wife Hope and I traveled to Boca Chica, Texas, to meet with Elon Musk. While we talked inside the SpaceX onsite headquarters, a mariachi band played outside, providing entertainment for ... Read More

Elon Musk’s Plan to Settle Mars

He who follows Freedom, let him leave his homeland, and risk his life. — Adam Mickiewicz, Polish poet, 1832 Last week my wife Hope and I traveled to Boca Chica, Texas, to meet with Elon Musk. While we talked inside the SpaceX onsite headquarters, a mariachi band played outside, providing entertainment for ... Read More

Escape from Wuhan

The onset of the crisis in Wuhan startled me like a jump scare in a horror movie. You’ve seen the kind I mean. The audience is led to believe that the monster, psycho killer—or what have you—pursuing the intended victim is still distant. Then whatever it is stands up from behind, leaps out in front, bursts ... Read More

Escape from Wuhan

The onset of the crisis in Wuhan startled me like a jump scare in a horror movie. You’ve seen the kind I mean. The audience is led to believe that the monster, psycho killer—or what have you—pursuing the intended victim is still distant. Then whatever it is stands up from behind, leaps out in front, bursts ... Read More