Friday, the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America — the nation’s largest Orthodox Jewish umbrella organization — welcomed President Obama’s announcement that he is revising the regulation announced on January 20 by the Dept. of Health and Human Services regarding employers’ health insurance plans and religiously affiliated institutions.
The Orthodox Union criticized the previous regulation as being harmful to religious liberty and disturbingly defining religious entities that serve or employ people of other faith as undeserving of religious liberty protection.
Under the revised rule, no nonprofit, religious institutional employer that objects to providing contraceptives and sterilization services will have to pay for or provide coverage for it. The plan rightly recognizes that the government must not force religious communities to pay for or provide services forbidden by their faith. Also, no objecting religious employer will be required to make referrals for services to which they object. This will remove any burden upon the religious liberty of these employers. At the same time, employees of objecting religious hospitals, universities, and social service agencies will have access to these important benefits directly from insurers.
Nathan Diament, the Orthodox Union’s executive director for public policy, issued the following statement:
The Orthodox Union welcomes President Obama’s announcement today revising the recent regulation regarding religious institutions and health services for women.
According to the White House description of the revised rule, the new regulation will resolve the religious liberty concerns and respects the interests of Americans who would like to have these health benefits.
We commend the President and his advisers for responding to the deep concerns regarding America’s first freedom of religious liberty expressed by our organization and so many others. We thank the White House officials with whom we discussed this critical issue – as recently as yesterday – for their attention and action. The President’s stated commitment is a positive first step forward, the details of implementation are crucial and we look forward to working with the Administration to see that through.