Conservative and religious groups panned the Obama administration’s long-awaited “accommodation” meant to spare religious-affiliated groups from the so-called contraceptive mandate, calling a proposal unveiled Friday “radically inadequate.”
The Department of Health and Human Services announced the broader opt-out Friday a year after Secretary Kathleen Sebelius pledged to address complaints from Catholic schools, religious-affiliated service providers and other organizations.
The proposed regulations, though, did not satisfy the widespread concerns about the ObamaCare rule requiring near-universal access to contraceptive coverage for employees.
Businesses like Hobby Lobby, which sued the administration over the rule, would not be affected by the change because it is not a religious employer — though the owner of that company has objected on religious and moral grounds. Critics said Friday that all businesses should be exempt if they want, while also voicing concern that religious-affiliated groups would still be “conduits” for contraceptives.
“After over a year of litigation, our clients and many others like them were hoping for much, much more from the administration,” Kyle Duncan, general counsel for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, said on a conference call. The group has represented several religious-affiliated schools suing over the rule.