Today, Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius announced that the Obama administration will soon require every employer-sponsored insurance plan to fully cover the cost of birth control. Additionally, the tiny loophole that allows some religious-based employers to be exempt from the requirement won't be widened. Commence cocky, celebratory dancing... now.
For a few months, the fate of the Preventative Care Mandate was a little dicey, as religious organizations clamored for "conscience based" objections to apply to them as well. This means everything from religious schools and universities to hospitals wanted the right to continue to deny coverage for their female employees' birth control. They even sent out a whole big letter about it, signed by all sorts of important people. No dice, says the President. Birth control for everyone.
There's still a small religious exemption in the plan, for houses of worship and religious charities that employ and serve primarily practitioners of the same faith.
Non-exempt religious institutions have a year to mull over how they're going to try to weasel their way out of covering birth control for their plan members. I'm curious as to what they'll do. Judging by how much effort my Catholic alma mater put toward making sure precious angel virgin girls stayed as far away from birth control and its evils as possible, I don't think they'll go gently into that dark whore night.
In the meantime, enjoy this delicious bit of victory over the forces of stupidity and plan how you'll spend the money you'd otherwise use for your monthly birth control copay. Something cool, like a new book or running shoes or candy? Or something practical, like your 401K or nipple tassels? The choice is yours.