February 09, 2012

Manchin, Rubio Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Expand Religious Exemption for Contraception Coverage

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) today will introduce bipartisan legislation, called the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 2012, that would repeal the Obama Administration’s mandate requiring religious employers to cover contraception for their employees under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Last week, Manchin sent a letter to President Obama, explaining his strong opposition to the mandate that he called “a direct affront to the religious freedoms protected under the First Amendment of our Constitution.” He asked the President to expand the mandate’s exemption for religious employers. 

“Under our Constitution, religious organizations have the freedom to follow their beliefs, and government should honor that,” Senator Manchin said. “The Obama Administration's position on this mandate is wrong and just doesn't make any sense to me. I'm proud to introduce this bipartisan legislation with Senator Rubio, which will ensure that the First Amendment rights of religious employers are afforded the respect they deserve.” 

“I hope President Obama will realize what a gross government overreach this is and change his mind on this mandate, but if he doesn’t, Congress should act,” said Rubio.  “We cannot allow the government of the United States to abuse its power by forcing faith-based organizations to pay for something they are morally opposed to.” 

The text of the legislation is attached.  A full copy of Senator Manchin’s letter to the President is also attached.