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The Voter’s Speakeasy featuring unbiased reporting and insight into life at Project Vote Smart from our staff, interns, and volunteers.

Legislative Wrap-Up: Religious Objections to Birth Control

2013 January 24

In August 2011, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued an interim final rule concerning contraception. The rule, prompted by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, requires health insurance plans to offer all FDA approved forms of contraception free of additional charge. The rule exempts some religiously affiliated non-profit organizations with direct ties to their religion, such as churches. The Department’s ruling caused many to worry about government coercion of religious liberties, including the Archbishop of Baltimore William Lori, who voiced his opinion in a letter to the Editor of the NY times.


The HHS received immediate backlash for the mandate on contraception, receiving thousands of letters opposing the rule. Opponents of the rule argue that under the rule businesses with religious objections, which did not qualify for the exemption, would be forced to violate moral convictions by providing insurance sponsored contraception for their employees.  In response to the backlash, the HHS amended the rule to specify that all such religious and morally opposed organizations would have one additional year to comply with the mandate before being penalized. The new one year time frame does not affect the non-profit religious organizations initially exempt. The momentary fix offered by the HHS did little to silence the opposition, and only provoked legislative action from Congress and state legislatures alike. 

Supporters of the HHS rule have provided several counter attacks, with some claiming the opposition has waged a war on women.  Colorado Senator Morgan Carroll (D), voiced her opinion on the floor of her ...

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Legislative Wrap-Up: Voter ID

2013 January 16

States across America considered legislation in their most recent sessions that would change voting and voter registration requirements.

December Common Ground E-Newsletter

2012 December 14

Click here to sign up for our monthly Common Ground E-Newsletter...

North Carolina Legislative Wrap-Up

2012 November 28

The North Carolina General Assembly has biennial sessions with a regular long session in odd years and a short session held on even years.

November Common Ground E-Newsletter

2012 November 21

Read our November Common Ground E-Newsletter here...

Same-Sex Marriage Wrap-Up

2012 November 19

Over the past few years, the country has witnessed an abundance of legislation on both the state and national levels regarding same-sex marriage.

Intern Spotlight: Laura Diamond

2012 November 15

Learn more about interning at the Project Vote Smart ranch...

Can I register to vote today?

2012 November 06

Find out if your state allows for same-day registration.

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