During the debate, the then-head of Planned Parenthood in California said the wording was designed to close the “Catholic gap” in contraceptive coverage, Cox reported.
Pro-abortion rights groups like Emily’s List and NARAL are seeking to preserve the present language of the exemption.
Democrats for Life charged that these groups are “attempting to push the mandate beyond its hard won legislative intent” and are using “scare tactics” to convince supporters they risk losing birth control coverage.
Organization board member Stephen Schneck of the Institute for Policy Research & Catholics Studies at Catholic University of America invoked a previous controversy over the effects of the health care legislation.
He said the Emily’s List campaign is “as dishonest as the Republican campaign” to convince voters that the health care legislation funds abortion.
“The PPACA does not fund abortion and not one woman will lose access to birth control under the new law. In fact, millions of women will now receive free birth control under that law,” he said.
Democrats for Life said that the campaign to preserve the narrow exemption could mean that “millions of Americans” will lose access to employer-sponsored health care. The organization cited the remarks of University of Notre Dame president Fr. John I. Jenkins, who said the rules would force the university either to violate Catholic moral teaching by paying for contraception and sterilization, or to violate Catholic social teaching by discontinuing employee and student health care plans.
“Common sense would say health insurance, even if it does not include contraception coverage, is better than no insurance at all,” Dahlkemper said. “If common sense prevails, the final rule will allow fair conscience protections that will not force religious institutions (to) choose between social teaching and moral teaching.”
In his testimony before the House subcommittee, Cox recommended that Health and Human Services use the broader definition of religious employer provided in the Internal Revenue Code. It should also amend the rule to ensure that individuals and non-religious employers are similarly protected, he said.
The proposed rules are set to take effect in August 2012.