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House urges Obama administration to rescind contraceptive coverage requirement

State House Bureau

February 22. 2012 12:52PM

CONCORD - The House voted 227-121 on Wednesday to approve House Resolution 29 urging the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to rescind a controversial policy requiring health insurers of religiously-affiliated institutions to provide contraceptives without co-pays.

The resolution was introduced by House leadership and has been backed by Catholic organizations who say it is an infringement on religious freedom.

Opponents of the resolution called it an attack on women and women's health care, and a case of discrimination against the cooks, gardners and secretaries who work for religious organizations and institutions.

House Minority Leader Terie Norelli, D-Portsmouth, said opposing the resolution would prohibit "discrimination in prescription coverage is sound public policy that would allow all employees to choose their own religious values."

But opponents called the resolution a matter of 1st Amendment rights and religious freedom and said employers ought to be able to determine what benefit they offer their employees.

"You should be able to freely worship as you see fit and practice your religion without the government telling you want you will and will not do," said Rep. Jordan Ulery, R-Hudson.

A resolution does not have the weight of law, but is an expression of the House's wishes.

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