Obama Administration Attacks Religious Freedom

Religious institutions will have to provide contraception under Obama Care.

A statement by U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius

In August 2011, the Department of Health and Human Services issued an interim final rule that will require most health insurance plans to cover preventive services for women including recommended contraceptive services without charging a co-pay, co-insurance or a deductible.  The rule allows certain non-profit religious employers that offer insurance to their employees the choice of whether or not to cover contraceptive services. Today the department is announcing that the final rule on preventive health services will ensure that women with health insurance coverage will have access to the full range of the Institute of Medicine’s recommended preventive services, including all FDA -approved forms of contraception.  Women will not have to forego these services because of expensive co-pays or deductibles, or because an insurance plan doesn’t include contraceptive services. This rule is consistent with the laws in a majority of states which already require contraception coverage in health plans, and includes the exemption in the interim final rule allowing certain religious organizations not to provide contraception coverage. Beginning August 1, 2012, most new and renewed health plans will be required to cover these services without cost sharing for women across the country.  

After evaluating comments, we have decided to add an additional element to the final rule. Nonprofit employers who, based on religious beliefs, do not currently provide contraceptive coverage in their insurance plan, will be provided an additional year, until August 1, 2013, to comply with the new law. Employers wishing to take advantage of the additional year must certify that they qualify for the delayed implementation. This additional year will allow these organizations more time and flexibility to adapt to this new rule.  We intend to require employers that do not offer coverage of contraceptive services to provide notice to employees, which will also state that contraceptive services are available at sites such as community health centers, public clinics, and hospitals with income-based support.  We will continue to work closely with religious groups during this transitional period to discuss their concerns.

Scientists have abundant evidence that birth control has significant health benefits for women and their families, it is documented to significantly reduce health costs, and is the most commonly taken drug in America by young and middle-aged women. This rule will provide women with greater access to contraception by requiring coverage and by prohibiting cost sharing.

This decision was made after very careful consideration, including the important concerns some have raised about religious liberty. I believe this proposal strikes the appropriate balance between respecting religious freedom and increasing access to important preventive services. The administration remains fully committed to its partnerships with faith-based organizations, which promote healthy communities and serve the common good.  And this final rule will have no impact on the protections that existing conscience laws and regulations give to health care providers.

That last paragraph is disingenuous at best.

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops issued the following statement:

January 20, 2012
Unconscionable to force citizens to buy contraceptives against their will
No change in limited exemption, only delay in enforcement
Matter of freedom of conscience, freedom of religion

WASHINGTON—The Catholic bishops of the United States called “literally unconscionable” a decision by the Obama Administration to continue to demand that sterilization, abortifacients and contraception be included in virtually all health plans. Today’s announcement means that this mandate and its very narrow exemption will not change at all; instead there will only be a delay in enforcement against some employers.

“In effect, the president is saying we have a year to figure out how to violate our consciences,” said Cardinal-designate Timothy M. Dolan, archbishop of New York and president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

The cardinal-designate continued, “To force American citizens to choose between violating their consciences and forgoing their healthcare is literally unconscionable.It is as much an attack on access to health care as on religious freedom. Historically this represents a challenge and a compromise of our religious liberty.”

The HHS rule requires that sterilization and contraception – including controversial abortifacients – be included among “preventive services” coverage in almost every healthcare plan available to Americans. “The government should not force Americans to act as if pregnancy is a disease to be prevented at all costs,” added Cardinal-designate Dolan. Continue reading……

You can see a video of cardinal designate Dolan here.

About Susan Kehoe

I am the wife of a Catholic deacon living in Des Moines Iowa. My husband Larry and I have been married 39 years. But the deacon’s wife gig is a new twist. Larry was ordained in August of 2006. We have two children and five grandchildren. The oldest grandchild is ten and the youngest is three. Our daughter and her family live in Ireland, and our son and his family live in Franklin Massachusetts.
This entry was posted in Catholic Church, Church and the Public Square, Culture Wars and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Obama Administration Attacks Religious Freedom

  1. Sheri says:

    More than 90% of all Catholic women will use birth control during their lifetimes. That is a FACT. Just because you work for a Catholic church or school doesn’t mean you should have to lose your prescription. Birth control without insurance coverage is prohibitively expensive. You don’t have 10 kids, so you must have used it too. What gives, hypocrite?

  2. Susan Kehoe says:

    Sheri,
    I don’t know how many practicing( attend Mass every Sunday)Catholics use artificial contraception. But even if that 90% number is accurate, it is not relevant. Truth is not dependent on a poll.

    Wow! It is a scientific fact that all non celibate women who do not use artificial contraception have 10 kids? Sarcasm intended.

    I have never met you–yet you know my heart. How easily the charge of hypocrite is tossed around the com boxes.

    Please do not post again. You are not interested in reasoned polite debate.
    Peace and prayers,
    Susan

  3. Sheri says:

    Actually, it’s a cold hard fact that nearly 98% of Catholic women use birth control. That is not in dispute. A small amount of research could have told you that. I am very interested in polite debate, but it has to start with truth not lies. You have a lot to work to do on your end. And if you look at the birth rates in countries where birth control is not available, women have at least 7 children on average each, or die trying. I have read the bible. There is not one word about birth control or the duty to have children at all costs. Women all over the world realize that spacing the births of their children benefits the entire family. AND let’s not forget that birth control prevents abortion.

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