The Center for Inquiry (CFI) on Tuesday, June 12, submitted formal comments that urge the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to make final a rule requiring health insurance providers and organizations providing health care plans to cover preventive health services, such as birth control and contraception, without charging a co-payment.
As you are probably know, the proposed rule has faced fierce opposition from religious groups. For example, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has argued that the requirements make for bad health policy and violate the “conscience” of some religious individuals and religiously affiliated employers, allegedly infringing their “religious freedom.” The Bishops want the rule rescinded, or its exemption clause radically expanded.
CFI believes the USCCB fails to recognize the scientific basis of the rules, and displays a regrettable lack of understanding of the concept of religious freedom. We also believe HHS has provided sufficient accommodation to religiously affiliated groups. Our letter outlines the reasons in support of our position.
Yet if HHS chooses to follow the Bishops’ logic, hundreds of thousands of women could be left without preventative health coverage simply because of their employer’s religiously motivated objections. This is unacceptable.
That’s why we need your help. HHS is allowing public comments on the new guidelines until Tuesday, June 19, 2012. Here’s how you can get involved:
1. Visit www.regulations.gov.
2. In the search field, type the following: CMS–9968–ANPRM.
3. Scroll to the top result and click on “Submit a Comment.”
This drawn out debate over something as basic as birth control is a perfect example of the harmful influence of religious institutions on public policy. Send a message to policy makers at HHS right now and tell them it’s time to finalize the contraceptive rule and move on.
Remember, the deadline is Tuesday, June 19, 2012!