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July 23, 2014

Faith Groups to Get New Workaround on Contraceptive Mandate

The White House is crafting a new accommodation for religious nonprofits claiming an objection to providing employees with insurance coverage for birth control or filling out a form designating another party to do so, The Washington Post reports.

The Obama administration made its plans known in a brief filed Tuesday with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit in Denver. Details of the new workaround are still being developed but are aimed to ensuring contraceptive coverage for workers at faith-affiliated charities, schools, and hospitals in accordance with the Affordable Care Act.

The White House effort was spurred by the Supreme Court's July 3 order granting Wheaton College in Illinois a stay from complying with the contraceptive mandate. The evangelical institution is one of dozens of nonprofit faith groups challenging the existing accommodation, which requires them to submit a form authorizing a third-party insurer to provide the coverage.

Some religious organizations say that compromise still makes them complicit in providing contraception, in violation of their beliefs. A senior administration official said the new plan will be available "within a month" and will involve "an alternative way for objecting nonprofit religious organizations to provide notification."