Birth Control Buzz Kill: HHS Contraception Mandate Comes Under More Fire

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American Protestants apparently want to be just like American Catholics.

According to Religion News Service, they too are pissed about Barack Obama's Health and Human Services Mandate, which requires that insurance companies provide birth control coverage.

A cohort of 149 religious leaders sent a letter to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on Monday, claiming that exemptions make for a two-tier system, under which churches qualify for exemptions, but that faith-based charity organizations might or might not qualify.

The Obama Administration has countered that the exemptions are ample, and pretty much apply to anything religion-oriented except for hospitals and educational institutions.

Some top Catholics signed onto the letter, but Church bishops did not participate.

Instead, they are meeting this week in Atlanta to "discuss their strategy against the mandate."

Signatories of the Monday correspondence, the Service notes, include: "Stanley Carlson-Thies, an architect of President George W. Bush's faith-based office; Ronald J. Sider, head of Evangelicals for Social Action; Richard J. Mouw, president of Fuller Theological Seminary; Samuel Rodriguez, head of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference; Leith Anderson, president of the National Association of Evangelicals; Richard Land, head of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission; and David Neff, editor-in- chief of Christianity Today."

In New York, the Times notes, some Catholic institutions currently pay for contraception. That's because a 2002 state law requires that "any insurance policy with a prescription drug benefit provide coverage for birth control. The requirement has a narrow exemption that applies to policies provided by houses of worship, but not to most other religiously affiliated employers."

Follow Victoria Bekiempis @vicbekiempis.

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