Press Release

Government to force charitable organizations to violate their conscience or pay fines

Media Contact

Ryan Colby 202-349-7219

Today, Becket filed an official response to new government regulations that would force employer health care plans across the country to pay for sterilization and contraception, even when doing so would violate their religious beliefs. The regulations include forced payment for all FDA-approved contraceptives, including Plan B and Ella—drugs that many ethicists consider to be abortifacients and many Americans consider immoral. Any employer that refuses to provide this coverage will be punished with a hefty fine.

“It is unprecedented—and unconstitutional– for the government to force believers to either violate their conscience or get out of business,” said William P. Mumma, president of Becket. “It is outrageous to think that the government will fine charitable businesses if they exercise their protected right to follow their conscience.”

Last January, Becket expressed concerns that “without a robust exemption, mandated coverage for prescription contraceptives and sterilization would pose an unprecedented threat to the rights of conscience of religious employers and others who have religious or moral objections to these procedures.”

While the mandate is broad, calling for all FDA-approved contraceptives to be covered without any cost to the employee, the religious exemptions are extraordinarily narrow: HHS chose the stingiest definition of a “religious” organization ever to appear in federal law. Under the new regulations, the only organizations that might receive an exemption from the HHS mandate rules are churches, monasteries, or convents that avoid hiring and helping people that do not share their religious beliefs.


For more information or to arrange an interview with a Becket  attorney, please contact Melinda Skea at  or 202-349-7224. Interviews can be arranged in English, Chinese, French, German, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish.


Becket is a non-profit, public-interest law firm dedicated to protecting the free expression of all religious traditions. For over 20 years, it has defended clients of all faiths, including  Buddhists, Christians, Jews, Hindus, Muslims, Native Americans, Sikhs, and Zoroastrians (read more). ”