Washington D.C., Feb 10, 2012 / 12:09 pm America/Denver (CNA).
President Barack Obama attracted harsh criticism for a new policy that claims to accommodate the religious freedom of employers who say their conscience rights are being violated by the administration’s recent contraception mandate.
“This is a false 'compromise' designed to protect the President's re-election chances, not to protect the right of conscience,” said Hannah Smith, senior legal counsel for The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty.
Smith was one of many who responded to a Jan. 20 announcement of a new policy regarding a mandate that will require virtually all employers to purchase health insurance plans that cover contraception, sterilization and drugs that cause abortion.
Amid a storm of protest from individuals and organizations who argued that the mandate infringed upon their freedom of conscience, Obama announced a new policy on Feb. 10, which he said “accommodates religious liberty.”
Instead of directly purchasing contraceptive coverage, the new policy will require many religious employers to contract with health insurance companies that offer them free of charge.