The Obama administration has proposed another compromise on the Affordable Care Act's contraception mandate. And it's pretty fair! Women get access to birth control without having to pay out the wazoo and religious groups get to plug their ears and pretend everyone is still fucking au naturel.
Religious non-profits will be allowed to issue employees health care that doesn't provide contraception coverage. Instead, employees who want birth control would be automatically enrolled in a separate, individual policy by their health insurer. That policy would only cover contraceptives; women would still not have any premiums or co-payments and "eligible organizations would not have to contract, arrange, pay or refer for any contraceptive coverage to which they object on religious grounds," according to the Obama administration.
The Affordable Care Act's initial wording mandated all employers provide their employees with coverage that includes birth control. Religious hospitals and universities pushed back, even sued, citing their religion-based opposition to all contraceptives. Places of worship were exempt.
"Today, the administration is taking the next step in providing women across the nation with coverage of recommended preventive care at no cost, while respecting religious concerns," Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in a press release. "We will continue to work with faith-based organizations, women's organizations, insurers and others to achieve these goals."
What remains to be seen, though, is whether the religious set will accept the compromise. President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Cardinal Timothy Dolan issued a brief and vague statement: "Today, the Administration issued proposed regulations regarding the HHS mandate. We welcome the opportunity to study the proposed regulations closely. We look forward to issuing a more detailed statement later."
What's amazing though is that this group continues to wield such power. According to a recent Gallup study, only 11 percent of Americans oppose birth control. For context, more Americans believe President George W. Bush was complicit in the attack of the World Trade Center than oppose birth control.
Specific methods of contraception covered by the Affordable Care Act include sterilization and all birth control pills approved by the FDA, including emergency contraception like Plan B. For Catholics, there's always the rhythm method, it's bound to work sometimes.
[Image via AP]