*The Obama administration’s much-criticized abortion/contraceptive mandate went into effect Aug. 1, forcing businesses and religious organizations to carry insurance plans covering contraceptives that can cause chemical abortions, at no cost to the employee, reports the Baptist Press.

It is not known how many businesses and religious organizations are impacted, and in fact, it is possible that most of them are not — yet. That’s because businesses and religious organizations had the option of “grandfathering” the plans they had as of March 23, 2010 — the date the health care law was signed — as long as no major changes had been made since then. That means that if their plan did not include contraceptives then, it does not have to do so now, as long as the grandfathered requirements are met.

Religious organizations not eligible for “grandfathered” status could get a one-year extension until Aug. 1, 2013, but only if their insurance plans, as of Feb. 10 of this year, had not provided any contraceptive coverage due to religious objections.

Religious liberty organizations say the mandate, and its exemptions and loopholes, has multiple problems. Their biggest objection is that, for the first time, the federal government is requiring businesses and religious organizations to cover contraceptives and abortion-causing drugs, something to which they might have strong moral objections. Catholic doctrine opposes all forms of contraceptives, and although Protestants generally don’t oppose all types of contraceptives, they mostly do oppose abortion on demand. The mandate rule, written by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), includes in its definition of “contraceptives” such products as morning-after pills and emergency contraceptives — for instance, Plan B and ella — that can work after fertilization and cause a chemical abortion. Ella even can work after implantation.

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