The deadline is today for submitting comments to the Obama administration regarding the Health and Human Services mandate on contraception, sterilization and abortifacient drugs.
At 11:59 Eastern time this evening, the window for comments closes.
The Administration’s contraceptive mandate requires health plans to cover abortifacient drugs and devices, contraceptives, and sterilization procedures for women. The Administration recently issued two new rules on the mandate. Currently only houses of worship are exempt from the mandate. The new rules don’t change that. They consist of “interim final rules” (IFR) that slightly modify what the government calls an “accommodation” for nonprofit religious organizations not exempted from the mandate, and “proposed rules” (PR) that would extend the “accommodation” to closely-held for-profit companies.
The US bishops’ Office of General Counsel submitted separate comments on each of the new rules. It concluded that the proposed “accommodation” in the IFR still requires employers who fall outside the exemption for houses of worship “to facilitate the objectionable coverage.” They also determined that the PR “would make the current situation worse” for closely-held for-profit organizations.
Comments on the PR must be submitted by 11:59 pm ET today. Comments on the IFR can continue to be submitted until October 27.
As is the practice with governmental rule making, comments submitted are made available online.