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Obama Administration Unveils Contraception Compromise

Demonstrator holding up a sign outside the Supreme Court in Washington, June 30, 2014. The Obama administration announced new measures Aug.22 to allow religious non-profits and some companies to opt out of paying for birth control for female employees whi

The Obama administration has unveiled a compromise that would allow religious non-profits and some companies to opt out of paying for contraception, while still giving their employees an option for coverage.

The measures come less than two months after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that American business owners with religious objections may deny contraceptive coverage as part of universal employee health insurance now required by law.

On Friday, the Department of Health and Human Services announced an administrative action that maintains the exception for certain religious non-profits, but allows them to notify the government directly, instead of insurance companies, on their objection to covering contraceptive services. The government would then take over providing coverage to those employees who seek contraception.

The administration also is seeking comment on extending "to certain closely held for-profit companies the same accommodation that is available to non-profit religious organizations."

In a statement, Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell said “women across the country deserve access to recommended preventive services that are important to their health, no matter where they work." She said, "today’s announcement reinforces our commitment to providing women with access to coverage for contraception, while respecting religious considerations raised by non-profit organizations and closely held for-profit companies.”