A contraception compromise in good faith

The Washington Post Editorial Board praises the “good faith” compromise of the Obama administration on contraception and health-care, which was elaborated on this past Friday:

The group health plans of religious employers such as houses of worship would be exempt from the mandate. Nonprofit organizations associated with a religious group — a Catholic university, say — would not be required “to contract, arrange, pay or refer for any contraceptive coverage to which they object on religious grounds.” Instead, insurance companies would be on the hook. HHS would require insurers to provide contraceptive care to employees through individual insurance policies, cordoned off from the organization’s group plan. This would be no great burden on the insurance companies; they will likely save money because they won’t have to pay the costs associated with unintended pregnancies. Employees at institutions that self-insure, meanwhile, would gain access to contraceptives through unaffiliated insurance companies, which would get a small break on some fees for their trouble.

Critics say that these arrangements are simply a numbers trick; religious employers, they argue, would still, in some way, facilitate access to contraceptives. But they would be about as insulated from the provision of contraceptive coverage as they could reasonably expect to be while participating in a big health-insurance pool.

The article states the need to address contraception both in terms of health-care (unintended pregnancies are the leading cause of preterm birth, low birth weight, and often lead to abortions), and the theological concerns of religious employers. The WP Editorial Board states that they now have this “hard question right”.

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