13 State Attorneys General Want Broader Exemptions for Obamacare Mandate

Wednesday, 03 Apr 2013 05:45 PM

By Todd Beamon

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Thirteen state attorneys general have called on the federal government to broaden religious exemptions for private businesses under Obamacare’s contraception mandate.

The group says that the policy violates religious freedoms, Religion News Service reports, and contends that any employer who opposes contraception should be exempted from the mandate.

Under the Department of Health and Human Services’ latest proposal, introduced on Feb. 1, all employers would be required to provide contraceptive coverage to employees, RNS reports.

Editor's Note: ObamaCare Is About to Strike Are You Prepared?

Some nonprofit religious organizations, however, would be exempted. These would primarily include houses of worship — and their objections would be based on religious or moral grounds.

But the attorneys general said in a March 26 letter that the exemption should include all conscientious objectors, RNS reports.

“These regulations will force many Ohio employers to choose between harsh penalties and violating their conscience,” Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine said in a statement to RNS.

“This is another example of why Obamacare is bad policy, and it is another reason why I have joined attorneys general across this county to protect American families from its illegal overreach.”

As many as two dozen lawsuits have been filed against the contraception mandate by private businesses — and many have been granted temporary injunctions while their actions are pending, according to the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty.

Thirty other lawsuits have been filed by nonprofit religious groups, though most have been dismissed as premature, RNS reports. Noncompliance fines begin next year.

Fabien Levy, a spokesman for the federal health agency, told RNS that the mandate was still a proposal, and that the attorneys general were acting on their right to object during the public comment period, which ends on April 8.

The letter also was signed by the attorneys general of Alabama, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, and West Virginia, RNS reports.

Editor's Note: ObamaCare Is About to Strike Are You Prepared?

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