The Obama Administration may have successfully pulled a fast one in its revision of the Free Birth Control Rule. True, non church religious organizations will not have to pay for a policy that covers birth control. But employees will be able to go to the same insurer and obtain the coverage free. From the Washington Post story:
Religiously-affiliated non-profit employers such as schools, charities, universities, and hospitals that object to offering health plans that include contraception will be able to provide their workers with plans that exclude such coverage. However, the insurance company that provides the plan will have to offer those workers the opportunity to obtain additional contraceptive coverage directly, at no additional charge. Churches remain exempt from the birth control coverage requirement. And their workers would not have the option of obtaining separate contraceptive coverage under the new arrangement.
In other words, the only difference is that the coverage is not automatic but must be requested by the employee. That isn’t a huge distinction but I think it will be enough subterfuge to abate the controversy.
To really respect the free exercise of religion, objecting religious organizations should be treated the same as the “houses of worship.” But that would interfere with the administration’s drive to devolve freedom of religion into mere freedom of worship.