Six Things Everyone Should Know About HHS Mandate

What has happened to our country that was founded on religious freedom?  Why is the Catholic Church under attack?  Is it because we actually have a conscience?

Our Church has built schools and hospitals that are vital to the communities they serve.  They are our faith in action.

If we don't stand up for our Church now, my fear is that we will one day be saying Mass in secret in our basements.

This is from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops web site.  Please read it and pass it along to all Catholics, but especially the lukewarm ones.  This is our chance to stand up and say, "I am Catholic" and mean it.


WASHINGTON— The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops offers the following clarifications regarding the Health and Human Services regulations on mandatory coverage of contraceptives, sterilization and abortion-inducing drugs.

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 mandateCatholics 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 HHS's 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.

Additional information on the U.S. Catholic bishops’ stance on religious liberty, conscience protection and the HHS ruling regarding mandatory coverage of contraceptives, sterilization and abortion-inducing drugs is available at


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  • "If we don't stand up for our Church now, my fear is that we will one day be saying Mass in secret in our basements."

    It's hyperbolic pablum like this that makes non Catholics turn their backs on your genuine constitutional gripe with this piece of legislation. Your bio says you've lived in Chicago your entire life. Ever walk down Chicago past the Holy Name Cathedral? How about Old St. Pat's just off of the Kennedy, or any the dozens of other Catholic churches operating in the city? If you take issue with this law, talk about the free exercise clause; there's an argument to be made there. But cut these crocodile tears over the persecution of the poor American Catholic. You are NOT a persecuted minority. Get over it.

  • In reply to Eddie:

    Thank Eddie - I agree. And I just commented all the way at the bottom. You might find the links I posted funny too.

  • Where is the Church's public opposition to the mandates in New York, California, and Oregon?

  • I'm all for religious freedom.

    My issue arises when the issue isn't about true, full-scale religious freedom, but specifically YOUR religious freedom.

    There are so many voices and opinions out there shouting that the United States is a Christian nation. This (not so implicitly) rejects the notion of ACTUAL, full-scale religious freedom. I'm a Jew. I have a different point of view. And yet federal laws are being enacted or redacted based on a strictly Christian point of view? What about my religious freedom? What about more liberal sects of Christianity? What about Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist religious freedom?

    To take a legal standpoint from the place of ONE religious point of view rejects the notion of religious freedom. Let's call it what it is - those who adhere to this mindset are only concerned with THEIR religious freedom, and could not give less of a damn about the freedoms of people of other religions.

    Eddie - I think you hit it. There is a genuine, law-based, constitutional gripe to be had about this issue. Focus on that. If you want to talk about TRUE religious freedom, one of the ACTUAL founding ideals of our nation, then be prepared to take it the whole way, or don't go down that road.

  • In reply to js1414:

    I agree with your postion on the religious aspects. I just commented all the way at the bottom. You might find the links I posted funny too.

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    i'm sorry but i'm a simple guy so i think about things from a simple point of view. with that in mind, i ask the question: is it required that you be catholic and/or subscribe to catholic tenets regarding contraception in order to work for a catholic hospital or university?

    if the answer is no, which it should be, then it seems to me that no employer should have the power/right to deny a particular type of benefit to an employee who would want it. to me, that's the more important aspect of this issue, the rights of the individual, rather than the so-called "attack on the catholic church".

    but again, i'm a simple guy...

  • So... let's see: Obama, using authority he does not have through the Constitution, orders something to be done. Then he retracts that false authority and issues another order that another private entity must instead carry our the proclamation.

    Nobody, no matter what your faith or lack of, sees a problem with this type of imperialism?

    Think of the closest organization you are part of. All of a sudden, by fiat of, let's say, President Gingrich, it is declared that all must do something in your organization, as it is beneficial for the physical and/or mental health of this organization, based on some line in over 2000 pages of the Affordable Care Act.

    Does that bother you? Does it bother you that it is Gingrich doing the ordering and okay if it is Obama?

    Does the government ordering and arranging control over every aspect of human existence bother you? If not, fine. If so, why?

  • In reply to Richard Davis:

    mr. davis, let's start by working with the facts. president obama, and any other president, is well within within his (or her) powers to introduce policies while in office. those policies, like any other bill, have to be voted on and approved by congress in order to become law. the president also can issue executive orders and administrative orders. an example is executive order 9066, which was used to intern japanese-americans during ww2.

    with that in mind, the affordable care act was introduced by rep rangel and was passed into law by congress. the issue that is being discussed by this blogger is a proposed amendment to that law, which would have to be passed just as any other amendment would.

    so what authority are you talking about?

  • In reply to misterchi:

    Dear misterchi,

    The "authority" I am talking about is the the authority to order a private institution, be it a church or an insurance company, to "do" something.

    I'm well aware that presidents can issue executive orders, and you point to one of the most horrendous ones, the internment of US citizens by the leading "progressive" and "liberal" of the day. When an executive, such as Roosevelt and Obama, cannot get their way due to the pathetic shortcomings of the US Constitution, they "find ways around it" or act on their own, or they pack the courts (or try), like FDR.

    If you wish to have a monarchy or a dictatorship, that is entirely up to you. Most like to think that their trip to the ballot box is not a waste of time.

    BTW, is it too hard for you to use capital letters at the beginning of your sentences, or are you just exercising your "authority"?

    is it?

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