Religious get new opt-out on birth control

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The Department of Health and Human Services has announced proposed rules for dealing with religious groups who don't want to offer free contraceptive as part of the Affordable Care Act.

Under the proposal released Friday, women who work for religious-affiliated organizations can get contraceptive services through a third party insurer at no cost to them or their employer.

When the originally proposal was made last august, some employers - churches, religious schools and hospitals - took issue with being forced to provide a service that goes against their beliefs.

Health and Human Service Secretary Kathleen Sebelius says the proposal provides women across the nation with coverage of recommended preventive care at no cost, while respecting religious concerns.

It is unclear if the new rules will placate the dozens of religious nonprofits and corporate owners that have filed lawsuits to protest the contraceptive mandate. Religious groups had said the old birth-control coverage rule violated their religious beliefs. Many filed lawsuits or said they would simply not comply.