Protect Religious Freedom

 

 
   
 
              Voices of Conscience
 
 

 
 
   
   

In January, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) issued a rule forcing nearly all private health plans to include coverage for all FDA-approved prescription contraceptive drugs and devices, as well as surgical sterilization. These are listed among "preventive services for women" that all health plans will have to cover without co-pays or other cost-sharing -- regardless of whether the insurer, the employer or other plan sponsor, or even the woman herself objects to such coverage.

The exemption provided for "religious employers" is so narrow that it fails to cover the vast majority of faith-based organizations, including Catholic hospitals, universities, and service organizations that help millions every year. Ironically, not even Jesus and his disciples would have qualified.

During the public comment period last fall, the bishops' grassroots campaign alone generated more than 57,000 comments to HHS opposing their mandate.

Now that the Administration has refused to recognize the Constitutional conscience rights of organizations and individuals who oppose the mandate, the bishops are urging Catholics and others of good will to fight this unprecedented attack on conscience rights and religious liberty.

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