The Obama Administration’s contraceptive/abortifacient/sterilization mandate will begin to be enforced against nonprofit religious schools, charities and health care providers on August 1. In the days to come, Congress must decide whether to address this problem through must-pass legislation before the deadline. Members of the House should be urged to include the Health Care Conscience Rights Act (H.R. 940) in the next bill needed to keep the federal government operating. Please act today to protect conscience rights and religious liberty.
¨ Send e-mails through NCHLA’s Grassroots Action Center at: nchla.org/actiondisplay.asp?ID=292.
¨ Contact your Representative by phone. Call the U.S. Capitol’s switchboard at 202-224-3121, or call your Representative’s local office. Additional contact info can be found on Representatives’ web sites at www.house.gov.
“Please include the Health Care Conscience Rights Act (H.R. 940) in upcoming must-pass legislation. Government must not force Americans to violate their religious and moral beliefs on respect for life when they provide health care or purchase health coverage.”
Please contact your Representative today!
Under the new health care law, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) requires most health plans to cover “preventive services for women”, including services that many citizens find objectionable for moral and religious reasons. These objectionable services include sterilization, FDA-approved birth control (such as the IUD, Depo-Provera, morning-after’ pills, and the abortion-inducing drug Ella), and “education and counseling” to promote these to all “women of reproductive capacity”, including minor girls. The mandate allows only a very narrow exemption for a “religious employer”. On February 1, HHS released a new “proposed rule” that goes into greater detail on the “accommodation” but continues to allow only a very narrow exemption, chiefly aimed at what it calls “houses of worship”. Other religious organizations offering education, health care and charitable services to all in need do not qualify for the exemption. There is no exemption or delay for individuals, or for businesses owned and operated by individuals with moral or religious objections.
For a Fact Sheet on H.R. 940, see:
In a profound and powerful letter written from a Birmingham jail, Rev. Martin Luther King wrote, “the Constitution and Declaration of Independence together form the great wells of democracy that express the most sacred values in our Judaeo-Christian heritage.” Our country is not a theocracy, but would falter without reference to Judaeo-Christian beliefs. America’s founders shared a belief that religion and morality are relevant, not only for individual salvation, but for the general welfare of the nation.
Charles Carroll, the only Catholic signer of the Declaration of Independence, put it well in a letter to one of the signers of the Constitution when he wrote: Without morals a republic cannot subsist any length of time; they therefore who are decrying the Christian religion, are undermining the solid foundation of morals, the best security for the duration of free governments.
The Affordable Care Act enacted March 23, 2010 disregards the Ten Commandments and contains provisions contrary to religious beliefs. The Act mandates that employers provide health insurance which includes services contrary to religious freedom and morality. The law will become a dictator of conscience and hold our health care hostage, providing no real choices.
The United States Conference of Bishops, in the past always a champion of health care for all, claims the law is flawed, forcing Catholics to pay for benefits that violate Catholic Doctrine. A spokesperson for the bishops said “there is energy in the Catholic community in objecting to the mandate.” The bishops are aggressively petitioning the executive, judicial and legislative branches of government to revise the mandate or eliminate it. The government has attempted to accommodate some of the objections, but not to the satisfaction of the Bishops. The Bishops echo some state’s attorney generals expressing fear that the mandate is the first of many regulations under the Affordable Care Act that will conflict with legal protection for religious liberty and the right of conscience.
Archbishop Lori of Baltimore, chairman of the USCCB’s Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty, requests prayers that lawsuits against the mandate succeed and in a recent editorial comments, “Their goal is nothing less than securing the freedom of the Church to obey God’s command - and in turn to serve the common good, providing charitable ministries in health care, education, and service to the poor, all without compromising Catholic beliefs.”
America’s future depends on choices faithful citizens make. That means standing up for religious freedom and basic Christian values that are contained in our Declaration of Independence. With God’s grace we can help restore our national soul. To promote and pray for religious freedom plans are being made for a Mass here at St. Mary’s on Thursday evening, June 27.
Thomas J. Bonfiglio