POSTED: Wednesday, August 1, 2012 - 9:00am
UPDATED: Wednesday, August 1, 2012 - 9:04am
NBC NATIONAL NEWS — Sweeping new provisions of the Affordable Health Care Act take effect today, including a controversial mandate involving contraception.
That's why many opponents of the act are ramping up their opposition to it, even though proponents say it gives women access to more free preventive care than ever before.
Care like diabetes screening for pregnant women, screening and counseling for female victims of domestic violence and so-called well woman visits for early detection of health problems will be covered.
Insurance companies are to provide the services free of charge, not even charging a co-pay.
The provision that mandates coverage for contraceptive services also kicks in.
That's energized opponents like the owners of Hercules Industries, a heating and air conditioning company in Colorado.
They convinced a federal judge last week to temporarily exempt the company because the contraception mandate violates their Catholic faith.
"What this is about is really our freedoms to live our lives and run our business in accordance with our faith," argues Hercules owner Paul Newland.
Newland says his employees are free to purchase their own contraception coverage, and the judge's ruling recognizes that corporations can exercise religion.
The health care act already exempts some religious institutions from the contraception requirements.