The Catholic Action League of Massachusetts today condemned the decision by the administration of President Barack Obama to enforce its mandate for contraceptive coverage in all employer sponsored health insurance plans, without a meaningful religious exemption for faith-based entities. Kathleen Sebelius, U.S. Secretary for Health and Human Services, announced yesterday that this new regulation, stemming from health care legislation enacted in 2010, would go into effect on August 1, 2012, with a one year extension for religious affiliated organizations.
The new rule requires coverage not only for contraceptives, but for sterilizations, and for specific abortifacients such as Ella and Plan B. The Catholic bishops of the United States had lobbied President Obama to broaden the narrow religious exemption contained in the current regulation, which limits its application to sectarian institutions which principally serve and employ members of their own denomination.
The Catholic Action League characterized the decision as “an expression of unmitigated contempt for the rights, consciences, and sensibilities of Catholics.”
Catholic Action League Executive Director C. J. Doyle stated: “If this unprecedented aggression against the religious freedom rights of Catholics is allowed to stand, then virtually all Catholic institutions — colleges, universities, secondary schools, hospitals, charities, social service providers, fraternal orders, and advocacy organizations — will be forced to pay for procedures, devices, and chemicals abhorrent to the consciences of Catholics.”
“All hormonal contraceptives, including the ordinary birth control pill, are abortifacient, as they can prevent implantation on the uterine wall after conception. The result is the chemical abortion of a human embryo. Consequently, Catholic institutions, employers and consumers will not only be coerced into violating Divine and natural law, but will be required to participate, financially, in the killing of innocent human life.”
“This decision underscores the totalitarian instincts of secular liberalism, which would sacrifice the hallowed, constitutionally protected guarantees of religious liberty to newly contrived so-called ‘reproductive rights’, and would reduce the free exercise clause of the First Amendment to the freedom to worship on Sunday morning. Ironically, the same Democratic Party which gave America its first Catholic cabinet officer, its first Catholic Supreme Court justice, and its first Catholic President, is now the vehicle for this assault on Catholic freedom of conscience.”
“Blame cannot be focused exclusively on President Obama and the self identified Catholic, Secretary Sebelius however. This debacle is the inevitable consequence of forty years of silence by the American Catholic hierarchy and clergy on the subject of contraception, forty years of tolerating dissent, and forty years of failing to catechise Catholics on church teaching. Most American Catholics have never heard a homily on contraception. Most CCD students, parochial school students, and Catholic university students have never had Humanae Vitae explained to them.”