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The National Catholic Bioethics Center
NCBC Welcomes HHS Final Rule Protective of Employer Conscience
November 2018
© 2020 by The National Catholic Bioethics Center

After numerous interim rules, concerning which the NCBC submitted public comment, the US Dept. of Health and Human Services (HHS) on November 7, 2018, issued its Final Rule pertaining to the “Contraceptive Mandate.” The “Contraceptive Mandate” had required that virtually all employers who offer health insurance provide contraceptive coverage, including abortifacients, to employees, even if this violated the employer’s deeply-held religious beliefs. Such coverage was termed “preventative” health care as part of the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. The NCBC is grateful that in this Final Rule HHS has provided religious and conscience protections consistent with NCBC’s public comment. Persons and businesses with a religious or moral objection (in the case of a publicly-traded business it must be a religious objection) are exempt from the mandate. The only provision supported by NCBC that was not included in the Final Rule is the exemption of publicly-traded companies with a moral (but not religious) objection. This Final Rule is a significant win for the civil right to religious and conscience protections.