We have already discussed in a preliminary fashion the impact of the regulations proposed Friday on religiously motivated businesses, as well as whether the way in which the cost of contraception is shifted from religious organizations to other parties ought to relieve the consciences of those troubled by the mandate.
I published an op-ed on Friday in which I elaborated for an audience in my home state on an issue that I raised in this blog before. Georgia law mandates contraceptive coverage, exempting only organizations (like the Roman Catholic Church) that self-insure. The question that was unclear when I wrote the op-ed, but painfully clear now, was whether the Obama Administration’s ungenerous proposed regulations would supersede the even less generous state law.
Yesterday we received our answer:
Finally, the provisions of these proposed rules would not prevent states from enacting stronger consumer protections than these minimum standards. Federal health insurance regulation generally establishes a federal floor to ensure that individuals in every state have certain basic protections. State health insurance laws requiring coverage for contraceptive services that provide more access to contraceptive coverage than the federal standards would therefore continue under the proposed rules.
Churches and religious organizations in Georgia and seven other states would not receive even the minimal accommodations proposed by the Obama Administration, which is quite willing to compel states to toe its line on health insurance coverage, but not on religious liberty. If we hadn’t see it before, we see now where the Administration’s heart really lies.