Religious freedom

Trump Takes Aim at Controversial Birth Control Mandate
Executive order aims to end legal challenges to contraceptive mandate in 2010 health care law

Nuns demonstrate outside of the Supreme Court as arguments were heard in a case which religious organizations are challenging the Affordable Care Act's provision that requires employers to cover birth control in health care plans, March 23, 2016. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

President Donald Trump sought Thursday to end years of legal challenges to the contraceptive mandate in the 2010 health care law, signing an executive order he said makes it easier for religious nonprofits to win an exemption because of their beliefs.

The change, part of an executive order on religious issues announced in a Rose Garden ceremony on the National Day of Prayer, strikes at one of the most contentious provisions of the health care law (PL 111-148, PL 111-152) that prompted several Supreme Court rulings. 

Meet Capitol Hill's 'Jesus Lady': A Consistent Presence Since 1979
 

She’s been a fixture on Capitol Hill for decades. Members of Congress, staffers, journalists and other community dwellers all know her and her signature mannequin — of Jesus. She’s Rita Warren, more commonly known around the Hill as Jesus Lady.

Defense Bill Passes After Democrats Last-Ditch Attempts to Change it
Lawmakers say bill's language could open door to discrimination

There is a chance the issue could come up again when the Senate and House try to reconcile their versions of the defense authorization bill. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House passed a sweeping defense bill Wednesday night that would authorize $602.2 billion for the Pentagon and defense-related programs in fiscal 2017.  

But the 277-147 vote reflected the unease among many Democrats about provisions within the bill, including language many lawmakers fear would open the door for federal contractors to discriminate based on sexual orientation or sexual identity.