We still have freedom to worship. Freedom to practice our religion? Not so much.
Washington D.C., Aug 1, 2011 / 05:45 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- The U.S. bishops spoke out on August 1 against federal rules requiring nearly all new health plans, including those of most religious agencies, to cover all government-approved methods of contraception as well as surgical sterilization.
“Under the new rule our institutions would be free to act in accord with Catholic teaching on life and procreation only if they were to stop hiring and serving non-Catholics,” said Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, chairman of the U.S. bishops’ pro-life committee.
“Although this new rule gives the agency the discretion to authorize a ‘religious’ exemption, it is so narrow as to exclude most Catholic social service agencies and healthcare providers,” the cardinal noted.
The guidelines, announced by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on August 1, offer the exemption only if a religious employer “has the inculcation of religious values as its purpose,” “primarily employs persons who share its religious tenets,” and “primarily serves persons who share its religious tenets.”
Cardinal DiNardo wondered whether the federal government may actually “intend to pressure Catholic institutions to cease providing health care, education and charitable services to the general public,” by forcing the institutions to choose between following Catholic principles on the one hand, and serving non-Catholics on the other.
So pregnancy is now officially a disease. It is telling that prenatal health and labor and delivery care is not included in the list of mandated coverage Many young women have told me that most health insurance plans have severe restrictions on such coverage.
This is truly evil.