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After several religious groups, most notably the Catholic Church, took issue with a new federal regulation requiring organizations to provide contraception coverage to its employees, the Obama administration has announced a new compromise that it hopes everyone will be happy about.
“If a woman works for religious employers with objections to providing contraceptive services as part of its health plan, the religious employer will not be required to provide contraception coverage but her insurance company will be required to offer contraceptive care free of charge,” the White House said in a statement earlier today. Obama hopes that this compromise will respect issues of religious freedom while still allowing women to access the healthcare that they need.
The move will likely not satisfy religious groups who have been crying foul. That’s because even under this compromise, the law does not allow churches and religious charities to prevent employees from seeking out contraception altogether — it only eliminates their obligation to pay for it. While the Church continues to argue that its objection to the new rule is based on First Amendment freedom-of-religion rights, what’s really at stake here is the individual right to healthcare, and the freedom to make personal choices without interference from your boss.
However, given the media storm that would arise if religious organizations came straight out and said that, this announcement might be the end of the debate for now.