The battle over the Obama administration's birth control mandate is nowhere near over, with countless faith-based organizations continuing to challenge a government form that exempts them from providing coverage. The ongoing debate has left officials seeking a viable compromise.
As TheBlaze previously reported, the Supreme Court’s recent Burwell vs. Hobby Lobby ruling bars the government from forcing small companies with religious objections to provide controversial birth control devices for employees — a right that was previously granted to faith-based nonprofits.
But some of these organizations, including Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois, and Eternal Word Television Network, a Catholic media outlet, argue that the form they must fill out to receive an exemption still makes them complicit in granting employees access to birth control, according to Reuters.
Customers walk to a Hobby Lobby store in Oklahoma City, Monday, June 30, 2014. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
These nonprofits argue that, with the form, they still end up authorizing their insurance companies to distribute the very drugs they believe could cause abortions, landing them in a tough moral position.
The two-page government form, which might look benign on the surface, has caused "a titanic clash between the government and many religious organizations," as the New York Times reported earlier this month.
Eternal Word Television Network and Wheaton have been granted temporary injunctions while legal battles rage, but there's no definitive answer surrounding what the courts will eventually rule.
So, what's on the form, you ask?
The paperwork asks organizations looking to opt out of the mandate for their name, address and phone number — and for a specific contact for an individual affirming that the group in question opposes birth control, the Times added.
"I certify that, on account of religious objections, the organization opposes providing coverage for some or all of any contraceptive services that would otherwise be required to be covered," the form reads. "The organization is organized and operates as a nonprofit entity; and the organization holds itself out as a religious organization."
See page one of the form below:
United States Department of Labor
In an effort to stem debate, the Obama administration is working on a new rule that would accomplish two goals: ensure women have access to contraception, while also providing an alternative method for opting out of the mandate that will appease Wheaton College, among other Christian groups.
It is unclear what the alternative opt-out might look like and whether the faith-based organizations currently taking legal action over the accommodation will embrace it. The courts will most certainly decide the mandate's fate as it pertains to these organizations and others like them.