Join us in standing up for our Religious Freedom!
On January 20, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) reaffirmed a rule that virtually all private health care plans must cover sterilization, abortifacients, and contraception. This mandate is not “just about birth control” but requires coverage for abortion causing drugs, like Plan B and ella. The exemption given to “religious employers” was so narrow that does not cover most faith-based organizations—including Catholic hospitals, universities, and charities—that help millions every year. Ironically, not even Jesus and his disciples would have qualified for the exemption, because it excludes those who mainly serve people of another faith.
What about the administration’s “accommodation?”
1. HHS has promised some kind of “accommodation,” but only after the election.
HHS said it would take an additional year to develop more regulations to “accommodate” religiously-affiliated charities, schools, and hospitals that still fall outside the “religious employer” exemption. The effect of these additional rules will not be felt until after the 2012 election, the time when the public is able to hold the Executive Branch accountable for its policies. This will remove an important incentive for HHS to provide the best protection for religious liberty .
2. The promised “accommodation”—even at its best—would still force our institutions to violate their beliefs.
Under the proposed “accommodation,” if an employee of these religious institutions wants coverage of abortion causing drugs or contraception directly from the insurer, the objecting employer is still forced to pay for it as a part of the employer’s insurance plan. Since there is no other source, the funds to pay for that coverage must come from the premiums of the employer and fellow employees, even those who object in conscience.
3. There is no exemption for objecting insurers, secular employers, for-profit religious employers, or individuals.
The U.S. bishops defend religious liberty for ALL. This is not only an issue of religious rights for religious employers; it involves the religious freedom of any employer or insurer who objects to providing coverage demanded by the mandate. Now, all insurers, including self-insurers, must provide the coverage to any employee who wants it. And only employers that are both non-profit and religious may qualify for the limited “accommodation.”
What can parishioners do?
1. Most importantly, fast and pray.
Pray that God will give our elected officials wise counsel and guidance in this matter.
2. Contact your elected officials by e-mail, phone, or FAX letter to support the Respect for Concience Act (House H.R. 1179, Senate S. 1467).
- Call the U.S. Capitol switchboard at: 202-224-3121.
- Send your email to Congress through www.usccb.org/conscience or directly to your Congress person.
- Sample letters are given on the back of this sheet
- These letters are also posted under “HHS Mandate” on the Gospel of Life web page under the Outreach Commission tab of the parish web site
Now is the time to build co-sponsors and support. Please act today!
House of Representatives (H.R. 1179):
Representative Sean Duffy cosponsored H.R. 1179 on 10/4/11. It is still important that he hear your support for this bill:
Honorable Sean Duffy
1208 Longworth House Office Building
Washington DC 20515
(855) 585-4251 (toll-free)
Fax: (202) 225-3240
Dear Mr. Duffy,
Thank you for co-sponsoring the Respect for Rights Conscience Act (H.R. 1179). The Obama administration’s decision to mandate coverage of sterilization and contraceptives, including drugs that can cause an abortion, makes passage of this measure especially urgent. Please ensure that the religious liberty and conscience rights of all participants in our nation’s health care system are respected.
Senate (S. 1467)
Neither Senator Ron Johnson nor Senator Herb Kohl has cosponsored the Senate bill.
|Honorable Ron Johnson||Honorable Herb Kohl|
|386 Russell Senate Office Building||330 Hart Senate Office Building|
|Washington DC 20510||Washington DC 20510|
|(202) 224-5323||(800) 247-5645 (toll-free)|
|Fax: 202-224-2725||Fax: (202) 224-9787|
|Email: ronjohnson.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/contact||Email: firstname.lastname@example.org|
Dear Senator (Johnson or Kohl),
Please co-sponsor and support the Respect for Rights of Conscience Act (S. 1467). The Obama administration’s decision to mandate coverage of sterilization and contraceptives, including drugs that can cause an abortion, makes passage of this measure especially urgent. Please ensure that the religious liberty and conscience rights of all participants in our nation’s health care system are respected.