America’s Roman Catholic bishops have joined other Christian and conservative voices in rejecting President Obama’s “compromise” on his earlier announced mandate requiring all employers — including most religious institutions — to include free contraception to women in their health insurance coverage.
As reported by The New American, on February 10 the White House announced that it would supposedly accommodate religious institutions with objections to the mandate by relieving them of the requirement to provide or pay for contraception coverage. Instead, the White House declared, the insurance companies that religious institutions use would be required to directly offer women the same coverage “free of charge.”
Of course, those who objected to the President’s decree in the first place pointed out that the compromise amounted to a “distinction without a difference,” since the religious employer would still pay for the insurance coverage and so would still be footing the bill for the contraception coverage it morally opposes.
In their statement rejecting of the President’s “compromise,” the Catholic bishops recalled their original objection to the department of Health and Human Services (HHS) regulations “forcing private health plans — nationwide, by the stroke of a bureaucrat’s pen — to cover sterilization and contraception, including drugs that may cause abortion.” The bishops noted that all the other mandated “preventive services” under the HHS regulations address the prevention of disease, “and pregnancy is not a disease,” they emphasized. “Moreover, forcing plans to cover abortifacients violates existing federal conscience laws.”
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Photo: Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan, President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB)