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. Subsequent so-called “changes” by the Administration were no more than subterfuge.
Since the Administration still refuses 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.
Through this blog and through our diocesan Web site (www.diocesecc.org/Liberty) I will keep the faithful up-to-date on this threat to our religious liberty. Please stay informed.