White House Promises for 2013
The Obama administration has decided that, as a matter of public
policy, individual women should not have to pay for
contraceptive services," which include surgical sterilization,
for this policy are mainly economic and socio-political.
Since sterilization and birth control have to be paid for by
someone, the administration intends to force others to pay for them
through insurance plans, even if they object to doing so for reasons
of conscience or religion.
On 20 January, 2012, Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of the
Department of Health and Human Services, announced the final form of
regulation to be enacted for this
purpose, and gave objecting institutions a year to comply with it
The announcement generated a revolt against the HHS mandate by
religious institutions across the United States, protests from many
other people and organizations (including 154 member of the U.S.
House of Representatives), and the filing of two new civil suits
against the US Federal Government.
Contrary to an administration statement
on 10 February, 2012, the
regulation has not
been changed to accommodate objecting religious believers. The
wording and legal effect of the regulation remains exactly as it was
when it was
announced on 20 January, 2012.3
In response, this statement from the White House was published on
2012. It reaffirms the regulation and "grace
period" announced by Sebelius and makes a number of promises about a
new regulation that will not be in place until after US presidential
election in 2012.
Key terms are highlighted, links have been added for the
convenience of readers, and annotations are provided in text boxes
to the right.
FACT SHEET: Women's Preventive Services and
Religious Institutions [Original]
The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release
February 10, 2012
As defined by the administration,
contraception includes surgical sterilization, contraceptives, and
embryocides. The economic emphasis is
for this policy by the administration for the policy, which are
mainly economic and socio-political.
Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, most health insurance plans will
cover women's preventive services, including contraception
charging a co-pay or deductible beginning in August, 2012. This new law
will save money for millions of Americans and ensure Americans
nationwide get the high-quality care they need to stay healthy.
If 99% of women have used contraception, access
does not appear to be a problem. The primary question for the
administration is who should be made to pay for it. In any case,
has been shown to be inaccurate.
Today, President Obama will announce that his Administration will
implement a policy that accommodates religious liberty
the health of women. Today, nearly 99 percent of all women have used
contraception at some point in their lives, but more than half of all
women between the ages of 18-34 struggle to afford it.
The services are
not free. They are to be paid for by someone other than the women
who use them.
The significance of his announcement depends primarily upon the meaning
of the term "religious employer."
Under the new policy to be announced today, women will have
that includes contraceptive services no matter where she
works. The policy also ensures that if a woman works for a religious
employer with objections to providing contraceptive services as part of
its health plan, the religious employer will not be required to provide,
pay for or refer for contraception coverage,
but her insurance company
will be required to directly offer her contraceptive care free of
This means that objecting employers who are
not non-profits will be required to pay for coverage or refer for
The new policy ensures women can get contraception without paying a
co-pay and fully accomodates important concerns raised by religious
groups by ensuring that objecting non-profit religious employers will
not have to provide contraceptive coverage or refer women to
organizations that provide contraception. Background on this policy is
As defined by the administration,
includes surgical sterilization, contraceptives, and
â€¢ Under Section 2713 of the Affordable Care Act, the Administration
adopted new guidelines that will require most private health plans to
cover preventive services for women without charging a co-pay starting
on August 1, 2012. These preventive services include well women visits,
domestic violence screening, and contraception
, and all were recommended
to the Secretary of Health and Human Services by the independent
Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Science.
â€¢ Today, the Obama Administration will publish final rules in the
Federal Register that:
No change. This is
precisely the same rule and one year grace period announced by Secretary
Sebelius on 20 January that many religious leaders have said they will
o Exempts churches, other houses of worship, and similar
organizations from covering contraception on the basis of their
o Establishes a one-year transition period for religious
organizations while this policy is being implemented.
Moral or religious objections of others will not
There will be no new regulation until after the November 2012
â€¢ The President will also announce that his Administration will
propose and finalize a new regulation during this transition year to
address the religious objections of the non-exempted non-profit
religious organizations. The new regulation will require insurance
companies to cover contraception if the religious organization chooses
not to. Under the policy:
Objecting religious believers will be forced to
provide coverage, refer for the services, and subsidize the cost of
surgical sterilization, contraceptives, and
o Religious organizations will not have to provide contraceptive
coverage or refer their employees to organizations that provide
o Religious organizations will not be required to subsidize the cost
"Religious employers" is not defined.
o Contraception coverage will be offered to women by their employers'
insurance companies directly, with no role for religious employers who
It is not clear who will be required to pay for
o Insurance companies will be required to provide contraception
coverage to these women free of charge.
o The new policy does not affect existing state requirements
concerning contraception coverage.
Covering contraception is cost neutral since it saves money by
keeping women healthy and preventing spending on other health services.
For example, there was no increase in premiums when contraception was
added to the Federal Employees Health Benefit System and required of
non-religious employers in Hawaii. One study found that covering
contraception saved employees $97 per year, per employee.