Daines, Colleagues Challenge Biden Administration Rule to Eliminate Moral Exemption from Affordable Care Act Mandates

U.S. SENATE – U.S. Senator Steve Daines (R-Mont.) today joined Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) and a group of their colleagues in formally requesting the withdrawal of a pending Biden administration rule to eliminate moral exemptions established to protect individuals and entities who object to some or all contraceptives, including those that can destroy human life.

“As Members of Congress, we have a unique Constitutional interest and oversight role in ensuring regulations governing the ACA [Affordable Care Act] comport with the law and Congressional intent, and do not exceed their Congressional mandates,” the lawmakers wrote.

“While appropriately maintaining the religious exemption rule, the Proposed Rule would, however, eliminate the moral exemption rule, which exempts nonprofits and for-profit entities without publicly traded ownership who object based on their moral convictions to providing some or all forms of contraceptive coverage.  The Proposed Rule would subject nonprofit organizations, small businesses, and other covered entities to crippling fines unless they violate their fundamental moral convictions,” the lawmakers continued.

Read the full letter sent to the heads of the departments of Health and Human Services, Labor, and Treasury here.

The letter argues that the rule should be withdrawn because it would:

  • Force individuals and entities, including secular pro-life organizations, to provide contraceptive coverage that violates their sincerely held moral convictions, including their convictions about human dignity and the sanctity of human life; and
  • Create a new program that will divert exchange user fees in a way that will benefit the abortion industry financially and, in bypassing the appropriations process, deprive Congress of the opportunity to establish appropriate guardrails.

In addition to Daines and Hyde-Smith, Senators James Lankford (R-Okla.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), James Risch (R-Idaho), and Mike Braun (R-Ind.) signed the letter.

House members who signed the letter include U.S. Representatives U.S. Representatives Debbie Lesko (Ariz.-08), Mary Miller (Ill.–15), Jeff Duncan (S.C.-03), Brian Babin (Texas–36), Robert Aderholt (Ala.–04), Pete Sessions (Texas–17), Lauren Boebert (Colo.–03), Mike Kelly (Pa.-03), Gregory Steube (Fla.-17), Ronny Jackson, M.D. (Texas–13), Andrew Clyde (Ga.–09), Diana Harshbarger (Tenn.–01), Bruce Westerman (Ark-04), Andy Ogles (Tenn.–05), Michael Guest (Miss.–03), Rick Crawford (Ark.-01), Blaine Luetkemeyer (Mo.-03), and Ralph Norman (S.C.-05).

The letter has the support of Catholic Vote, Heritage Action, Students for Life Action, Concerned Women for America LAC, and the Ethics and Public Policy Center’s HHS Accountability Project.

Contact: Matt LloydRachel DumkeBlake Kernen