Tell HHS to Provide Contraceptive Coverage to All Women
On August 1, 2011, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced that certain preventative health services for women must be included by insurers and employers providing health insurance. Among these benefits are contraceptive methods and counseling. HHS also included a narrowly defined exemption to the contraceptive coverage for “religious employers.”
Due to the controversial nature of the exemption, HHS is allowing public comments until September 30, 2011. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has mobilized to have thousands of people send in comments to HHS demanding that the entire requirement for contraceptive methods and counseling be stripped from the new regulations because it infringes on employers’ religious beliefs and practices.
This means that countless women would be left without preventative health coverage because of who their employer is, not because of their own religious beliefs.
Please help us fight religious discrimination in law that disadvantages these women from receiving preventative health services from employers based on the employers’ religious beliefs, not their own beliefs. Take a few moments to visit www.regulations.gov, enter ID no. CMS-9992-IFC2, and leave comments using to HHS Secretary Sebelius, urging her to end religious discrimination in health care.
The Secular Coalition for America submitted comments to HHS on September 8, 2011. You can view the Secular Coalition’s letter here.
Your support will amplify the Secular Coalition’s efforts to provide preventive health services to women regardless of who their employers are. Please take a few minutes and visit www.regulations.gov to file comments about this important regulation (enter ID no. CMS-9992-IFC2) by Friday, September 30.
To submit your comment, please follow these steps:
1. Go to www.regulations.gov
2. Enter "CMS-9992-IFC2" in the ID box.
3. When the Search Results come up, scroll down past the first box that asks for details, to the results headed "775 results".
4. Look for the third heading down, which in the third column is labeled "HHS" (this is also under the title "Agency" third from the top).
5. Click on the "Submit a Comment" on the right in the 6th column of the "HHS" heading.
6. Follow the instructions on screen from there.
SAMPLE LETTER TO HHS
To Whom It May Concern:
I oppose any exemption that allows an exclusion of preventative health services for some women based on their employers’ religious beliefs. It is not religious freedom that is protected when such an exemption is made, but individual freedom that is restricted.
During a time when jobs are scarce and organizations and companies may discriminate based on religious beliefs, and when individuals are not able to use marketplace pressures to force employers to accede to the majority’s wishes of contraceptive coverage, it is the responsibility of government to protect the interests of those who are unable to protect themselves.