Contraception exemption not part of state mandate
CONCORD — Negotiators decided Wednesday to remove a provision to exempt employers who object on religious or moral grounds from a state mandate to provide birth control services as part of their health plan for employees.
Pushed by House Speaker William O’Brien, R-Mont Vernon, the Senate had sent the bill to interim study, but the House attached it to Senate Bill 356.
The conference committee removed the provision, killing it for the session.
Supporters said the current mandate is religious discrimination because it forces Catholic organizations to pay for contraception, which is against church principles.
Opponents said the bill places employers between a woman and her doctor and would give religious organizations greater rights than individuals. They also argued the bill goes beyond religious organizations and would exempt any employer who objects to providing contraception on religious or moral grounds.
The state law mandating contraceptive coverage was passed in 1999 with bipartisan support and went into effect Jan. 1, 2000.
The law does not apply to organizations that self-insure for health care, like the Roman Catholic diocese of Manchester, or if a health plan does not offer prescription coverage.
Neither religious organizations nor others have objected to the law until earlier this year when House leadership, led by O’Brien, blasted the Obama administration for a similar requirement in rules released for the federal health care reform law, only to learn the state had a law in place for 12 years.
- With non-critical federal services shutting down and no budget deal in sight, whom do you blame for the impasse?
- Both are to blame
- Total Votes: 2194
Wreaths Across America get big send-off
Where’s Waldo? Just ask the NSA
New UNH logo draws mixed reactions
John DiStaso's Granite Status: National Democratic chair to speak at NHIOP in January; Cataldo backs Kenney for Executive Council