Sebelius Defends Contraception Rule In First Appearance Since Mandate

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Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius made her first appearance since her department announced the new rule that mandates the provision of female contraception, as she defended the move as legally sound before lawmakers in Washington, Fox News reported.

“We certainly had our legal department look at a whole host of legal issues,” Sebelius testified before the Senate Finance Committee on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has said the President Barack Obama Administration’s “accommodation” to the initial rule, which was announced on February 10, as it will still require Catholic-affiliated charities, hospitals and schools to offer contraception to female employees as part of their healthcare plans.

According to the news outlet, Sebelius faced questions from Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), who asked about the legal justification for the move and future plans regarding contraception.

“We can work out a strategy where (Catholics) can abide by their religious freedom and the women employed in those institutions will have contraception,” she said, alluding to the year-long extension that was granted to employers regarding the adoption of the rule.

POLITICO reported that Sebelius did not talk to Catholic bishops when drafting the latest version of the rule.

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