Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-IL) issued the following statement today on President Obama's failure to provide an exception for religiously affiliated institutions to the new requirement that employers provide insurance coverage for birth control and abortion-inducing drugs. The rule is part of the 2010 health care law, which Rep. Lipinski voted against.
"I am enormously disappointed by today's announcement. All the facts indicate that the "new' mandate is the same as the "old' mandate. New words, same policy.
"Our understanding of the new policy is now limited to a Fact Sheet put out by the White House. This document says "Religious organizations will not have to provide contraceptive coverage or refer their employees to organizations that provide contraception.' But the health care law says that all employers must provide health insurance for their employees or pay a penalty. And according to the White House these same insurance plans that employers must provide "will be required to provide contraception coverage to these women free of charge.' So religious organizations have to provide health care coverage from insurance companies that are required to provide abortion drugs, sterilization, and contraception. What changed? This is the same policy.
"We need a rule that protects religious liberty by allowing employers to provide health insurance coverage that does not include abortion drugs and other services that violate their conscience and religious doctrine. Instead we got a so-called compromise that is no compromise at all and provides no options for those with profound religious and moral objections to providing these services. To say that the insurer and not the employer is required to provide the coverage is a fiction. There is no accommodation for religious liberty. The rule remains coercive and still violates the long-standing tradition of protection for conscience rights in federal law."