As expected, the Obama administration has issued the final rule about the HHS mandate. Despite all the spin and promises to accommodate religious organizations, the rule is abhorrent in how it defines “religious organization,” and in how it forces even those organizations to play a shell game in paying for objectionable services.
“Religious employers” are primarily houses of worship under the HHS rule, and will not be required to provide free contraception, abortion-inducing drugs, and sterilization to employees. And religious organizations that do object will not have to buy the “services” directly, but through a third party. Catholic hospitals, Evangelical colleges, and charities will still have to pay for these “services” for their employees, only now through an additional layer.
The “safe harbor” year for objecting religious organizations will end on the first of August. Will those organizations stand firm?