6 Things Everyone Should Know About the HHS Mandate

February 7, 2012

Embracing Life

It’s frustrating.

I’m talking about President Obama’s decision to force employers (yes–religious institutions too), to provide health insurance coverage for contraception–including those that cause abortions.

According to The Hill:

“In a piece over the weekend, the Washington Post columnist, a fan of Obama, wrote that the administration ‘utterly botched’ the issue and ‘threw his progressive Catholic allies under the bus,’ giving more ammunition to those in the church who aim to derail the new healthcare law.”

The Obama Administration has said it will work on the rules but has not stated that it will back down, despite pressure from christian organizations and the Catholic Church. The bishops estimate that 70 percent of parish priests criticize the HHS rules to their congregations because the mandates do not embrace life according to Natural law.

I thought you would appreciate reading the USCCB’s points listed below. Thanks to Sharon Wilson, Respect Life Coordinator for the Archdiocese, for sending this my way!

USCCB Media Blog

MONDAY, FEBRUARY 6, 2012

 Six Things Everyone Should Know About the HHS Mandate

1. The mandate does not exempt Catholic charities, schools, universities, or hospitals. These institutions are vital to the mission of the Church, but HHS does not deem them “religious employers” worthy of conscience protection, because they do not “serve primarily persons who share the[ir] religious tenets.” HHS denies these organizations religious freedom precisely because their purpose is to serve the common good of society—a purpose that government should encourage, not punish.

2. The mandate forces these institutions and others, against their conscience, to pay for things they consider immoral. Under the mandate, the government forces religious insurers to write policies that violate their beliefs; forces religious employers and schools to sponsor and subsidize coverage that violates their beliefs; and forces religious employees and students to purchase coverage that violates their beliefs.

3. The mandate forces coverage of sterilization and abortion-inducing drugs and devices as well as contraception. Though commonly called the “contraceptive mandate,” HHS’s mandate also forces employers to sponsor and subsidize coverage of sterilization. And, by including all drugs approved by the FDA for use as contraceptives, the HHS mandate includes drugs that can induce abortion, such as “Ella,” a close cousin of the abortion pill RU-486.

4. Catholics of all political persuasions are unified in their opposition to the mandate. Catholics who have long supported this Administration and its healthcare policies have publicly criticized HHS’s decision, including columnists E.J. Dionne, Mark Shields, and Michael Sean Winters; college presidents Father John Jenkins and Arturo Chavez; and Daughter of Charity Sister Carol Keehan, president and chief executive officer of the Catholic Health Association of the United States.

5. Many other religious and secular people and groups have spoken out strongly against the mandate. Many recognize this as an assault on the broader principle of religious liberty, even if they disagree with the Church on the underlying moral question. For example, Protestant Christian, Orthodox Christian, and Orthodox Jewish groups–none of which oppose contraception–have issued statements against the decision. The Washington Post, USA Today, N.Y. Daily News, Detroit News, and other secular outlets, columnists, and bloggers have editorialized against it.

6. The federal mandate is much stricter than existing state mandates. HHS chose the narrowest state-level religious exemption as the model for its own. That exemption was drafted by the ACLU and exists in only 3 states (New York, California, Oregon). Even without a religious exemption, religious employers can already avoid the contraceptive mandates in 28 states by self-insuring their prescription drug coverage, dropping that coverage altogether, or opting for regulation under a federal law (ERISA) that pre-empts state law. The HHS mandate closes off all these avenues of relief.

POSTED BY SR. MARY ANN WALSH AT 12:19 PM

You may want to read previous blogs I’ve posted on this issue: http://catholichotdish.com/embracing-life/5-facts-you-didnt-know-about-obamacare/ and http://catholichotdish.com/embracing-life/pay-for-peoples-contraception-no-thanks/

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About Kathy Schneeman

After graduating from The College of St. Thomas, I taught at Nativity in St. Paul until our oldest was just about born in the classroom (What a great lesson on life that would have been for my students!) I then became a stay-at-home-mom while teaching religious education classes and working very part time at UST. Recently, I served as the Archdiocese's Life Coordinator in the Office for Marriage, Family and Life until twins arrived (I was almost 43!) When I have a few minutes of quiet time, I like to run, eat chocolates, scones and Mexican food (that's why I run), read, and have a beverage with my husband at night. We have a whopping nine kids (yes...same husband and same wife; we get that question a lot!) and we attend St. Joseph's in West St. Paul--where we first met when we were in grade school.

View all posts by Kathy Schneeman
  • Sharon

    Thanks Kathy – It is important information for all of us, as Catholics to understand.

  • Becky

    This is the first (and likely the last in the foreseeable future) time that I agree with our bishop. It’s ok for Catholic institutions to provide billions and billions of dollars of health care (much of it uncompensated), social services and education (much of it reduced or free tuition). But there’s a wagging of fingers when we stand up and speak. I say we shut down all catholic-run organizations for a day or two to drive home the point of the level of impact there is to society.

    • Kathyschneeman

      It would be interesting to see what society would be like without the imprint of our Catholic services!