“We are pleased and grateful that the religious liberty and conscience protection needs of so many ministries that serve our country were appreciated enough that an early resolution of this issue was accomplished,” Sister Carol Keehan, president and CEO of the Catholic Health Association, said in a written statement. “The unity of Catholic organizations in addressing this concern was a sign of its importance.”
The response from the trade group America's Health Insurance Plans expressed concern about future implications of the decision.
Robert Zirkelbach, press secretary for AHIP, said in a statement that health plans have long offered coverage of contraceptive services to employers as part of preventive benefits. “We are concerned about the precedent this proposed rule would set,” Zirkelbach said. “As we learn more about how this rule would be operationalized, we will provide comments through the regulatory process.”
The administration official also said the decision achieves two goals: it allows women to receive available and affordable care, and also says that religious institutions don't have to pay for it.
On Friday, the Obama administration published final rules in the Federal Register that would exempt churches, other houses of worship and similar organizations from covering contraception on the basis of their religious objections and establish a one-year transition period for religious organizations while the policy is implemented.