The Obama administration on Friday ruled that religiously affiliated nonprofit organizations, including hospitals and universities, will have to offer birth-control coverage to women employees but gave the organizations an extra year to comply.
In a decision expected to draw opposition from religious conservatives, the Department of Health and Human Services issued a final rule requiring affiliated groups to provide a broad range of services, from implanted contraceptive devices to the morning-after pill. Many do not at present.
The government’s decision does not apply to churches, synagogues, mosques, temples and some religiously-affiliated elementary and secondary schools, which remain exempt.
But it comes as a blow to the interests of some religious authorities.
When HHS first announced plans to adopt the birth control rule last August, it stirred protests from religious groups including the Roman Catholic Church that wanted the exemption to apply to a broader category of organizations. The Catholic Church holds contraception to be sinful.