New Rules Coming for Opting Out of Contraceptive Coverage

Wednesday, 23 Jul 2014 10:13 AM

By Melissa Clyne

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On the heels of the Supreme Court’s temporary order allowing faith-based universities and charities to opt out of providing contraception coverage without filing a religious exemption form, the Justice Department has announced it will be issuing new regulations in the next month, according to The Wall Street Journal.

On July 3, the high court granted a temporary order allowing Illinois’ Wheaton College to abstain from covering birth control as part of its healthcare plan.

Wheaton, a Christian school, argued that it would be forced to indirectly provide birth control by submitting a required form to the federal government and third-party insurers, which in turn would supply birth control for free with a government subsidy, according to Business Insider.

The Obama administration initially offered the option of submitting the form as a compromise to religious institutions objecting to an Obamacare provision requiring contraception coverage.

The new rules have not yet been announced, according to CNN, but the White House says they will provide an "alternative way for objecting nonprofit religious organizations to provide notification."

Though the Supreme Court’s ruling in Wheaton was only temporary, the Justice Department seems to be anticipating it becoming permanent, CNN reports.

The court’s Wheaton order was issued shortly after its decision in the Hobby Lobby case, which ruled that closely held for-profit companies are allowed to "opt out" — on religious grounds — of covering certain forms of contraception.

In the majority opinion in Wheaton, Justice Samuel Alito wrote that the government "has at its disposal an approach that is less restrictive than requiring employers to fund contraception methods that violate their religious beliefs," Business Insider reports.

The forthcoming new rules "will apply to all nonprofit institutions that say the faith with which they are affiliated is opposed to the use of most forms of contraception," according to the Journal.

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