"The religious entities able to 'opt-out' are still a minority of those affected," he observed. "Our government should not be picking winners and losers when it comes to preserving our most cherished religious liberties."
George Mason University law professor Helen Alvaré, explained that the expansion added to the exemption "is as small as the government could make it."
Alvaré helped found "Women Speak for Themselves," a diverse group of women who object to political figures claiming to speak on behalf of all women in promoting the mandate.
"These new regulations are very long and very convoluted and very intent on exempting the fewest folks possible," she said in a statement.
In addition, Alvaré noted that the suggested changes would completely fail to protect non-religious organizations, individuals and for-profit businesses, adding that this fact is particularly "disturbing."
"In America, the right of religious freedom extends to all," she said.
Non-religious groups also objected to the announcement, arguing that the government's solution failed to protect their freedom of conscience.
Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List, a group that promotes pro-life politicians, argued that the proposal unfairly excludes organizations that do not identify with a certain religion.
"(T)here must be no religious 'test' by the government as to who, and what type of entities, are entitled to a conscience," she said in a statement. "We demand respect for non-religious entities such as the Susan B. Anthony List that recognize the taking of human life is the antithesis of health care."
Many groups – including the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops – said they are awaiting a full legal analysis of the proposed changes before they comment.
"We welcome the opportunity to study the proposed regulations closely," said Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
(Story continues below)
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