The chairman of the USCCB pro-life committee, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, said this week that the religious exemption in the HHS ruling to require health insurance plans to cover sterilization and contraception free of charge is so narrow that Jesus himself would not qualify for it.
Yet the Obama administration has refused to broaden the exemption. In a move she says “strikes the appropriate balance between respecting religious freedom and increasing access to important preventive services,” Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of the US Department of Health and Human Services, gave religious employers an extended deadline, until August 1, 2013, to comply.
Planned Parenthood, the extremist, abortion-centered organization behind the drafting and inclusion of no-cost birth control and sterilization in Obamacare, said in a statement that, while it applauds this victory, it opposes even the current, very narrow religious exemption, and also disagrees with adding the one-year waiver provision to the final rule.
Sebelius said in a Jan. 20 statement that nonprofit employers who do not currently provide contraceptive coverage in their insurance plans due to religious beliefs will be given the additional year to comply so that they can have “more time and flexibility to adapt to this new rule.”
Cardinal-designate Timothy Dolan, archbishop of New York and president of the USCCB, received a phone call from President Obama explaining the ruling. “In effect, the president is saying we have a year to figure out how to violate our consciences,” the archbishop said. “The Obama administration has now drawn an unprecedented line in the sand,” he said. “The Catholic bishops are committed to working with our fellow Americans to reform the law and change this unjust regulation.”
American Life League’s pleas to the bishops to fight Obamacare tooth and nail before it was implemented fell on deaf ears. Now, the fruits of that neglect are upon us as we find ourselves in an untenable position that was not hard to predict.
Please contact your legislators today and urge them to protect our right to religious liberty guaranteed by the First Amendment. Click here to send an e-mail or letter to your elected officials. You can send it as is or easily edit it.
As Cardinal-designate Dolan said, reacting to the administration’s refusal to broaden the religious exception, “It is important that Catholics [and others] not be deceived into thinking that this issue is simply another battle in the ‘culture wars.’ Rather, it is an attack on the right of all people of faith to live their faith in freedom.”
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