Press Release ERLC’s Russell Moore calls HHS religious liberty exemption ‘crucial achievement’ By Jill Waggoner Oct 6, 2017 WASHINGTON, D.C, Oct. 6, 2017—Russell Moore, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, commented today on the decision by the Trump administration to provide a robust religious liberty exemption to Health and Human Services’ contraceptive mandate, which provides employers with religious or moral objections an exemption to the requirement that they must pay for contraception, including contraceptives with abortifacient properties. Moore commented: “This religious exemption is a crucial achievement in the preservation of religious liberty. The government has no business whatsoever forcing citizens to subsidize the destruction of human life and the exploitation of families and communities. More still, the contraceptive mandate revealed the audacity of a state that believed it could annex the human conscience, which is why I have long opposed it as an unlawful overreach asking citizens to choose between obedience to God and compliance with the regulatory state. A government that can pave over the consciences of some can steamroll over dissent everywhere. I am thankful for this move, which recognizes that freedom of conscience is a natural and inalienable right, not an allowance handed out by Uncle Sam.” Seeking the overturning of the HHS contraceptive mandate has been a signature issue for the ERLC, beginning in 2014 after Guidestone Financial Resources and many other Baptist institutions filed suit against the United States Department of Health and Human Services, citing religiously held convictions that would prevent them from including such coverages in their health plans. Past statements and resources include: Here We Stand: Southern Baptists and the HHS Mandate, Jan. 12, 2014; ERLC files amicus brief in support of religious freedom in U.S. Supreme Court case, Jan. 11, 2016; Russell Moore comments on Little Sisters ruling, says ‘Much work yet to be done’ in religious liberty protections, May 16, 2016; 6 pro-life priorities for the president and Congress in 2017, Dec. 20, 2016; Why religious liberty matters for health care: HHS’s leaked rule, July 7, 2017. The Southern Baptist Convention is America’s largest Protestant denomination with more than 15.2 million members in over 46,000 churches nationwide. The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission is the SBC’s ethics, religious liberty and public policy agency with offices in Nashville, Tenn., and Washington, D.C.