Sandra Fluke urges comments favoring birth control rule

On Feb. 1, HHS announced that it will not create a broad exception to the mandate for employers with religious objections to birth control.

The policy requires most employers to cover a range of birth control methods in their healthcare plans. Churches and houses of worship are exempt, and employees of religiously affiliated institutions will be able to receive contraception directly from their insurance companies without a co-pay.

Officials said Feb. 1 that religiously affiliated employers will not have to promote that coverage or notify employees that it exists.

"The Obama administration announced they will hold the line on making no-cost birth control available to women under the Affordable Care Act," Planned Parenthood wrote online.

"Now, the fight starts anew ... We know what our opponents are capable of, and we cannot let them continue to stand between a woman and her body, her decisions and her future."

Critics of the mandate say that the accommodations do not go far enough, particularly because they do not provide relief for employers who personally object to birth control.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops recently said that Catholic institutions will have a "second-class status" under the policy because they are not exempted like Catholic parishes.