Saperstein: “We thank the Administration for continuing throughout the rulemaking process to advance and respect the core principles of religious liberty and reproductive freedom that have been reflected in the final rule.”
Washington, D.C., July 1, 2013 - In response to the Obama Administration’s final rule on contraceptive coverage under the Affordable Care Act, Rabbi David Saperstein, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, issued the following statement:
“We commend the Obama Administration and particularly the Department of Health and Human Services for its final rule regarding contraception coverage. As a religious organization dedicated to maintaining the separation of church and state, we appreciate the Administration’s commitment to protecting the religious liberty of exempted religious organizations such as houses of worship and of “accommodated” religiously affiliated not-for-profit organizations such as hospitals or universities. At the same time, as staunch advocates for health care access and women’s reproductive freedom, we support the rule’s guaranteed access to essential preventive care for female employees of religiously affiliated organizations. Indeed we call on the government to explore ways to ensure that employees of exempted organizations also receive reproductive health care coverage, perhaps through a government-run program.
In particular, we applaud the Administration’s decision in this rule to define exempted religious employers in the same way it does elsewhere in federal code. We are encouraged that the final rule concurs with the position we have long espoused – that religious organizations should not be defined by the faith of the people to whom they provide services or that of those who they hire. We also welcome policies in the final rule that allow seamless access to contraception for female employees of accommodated organizations that object to providing reproductive health care coverage while not requiring the objecting organizations to pay for contraception, even through their insurance premiums.
The Reform Movement has been an historic advocate for women’s rights and equality, and as such was deeply supportive of the inclusion of contraceptive coverage as part of women’s preventive care in the Affordable Care Act. We thank the Administration for continuing throughout the rulemaking process to advance and respect the core principles of religious liberty and reproductive freedom that have been reflected in the final rule.”