Tuesday, September 23, 2014

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Catholic Education Daily

 

Newman Society Urges Immediate Member Action on HHS Mandate

Monday, April 8, is the deadline for comments on the Obama administration’s mandate that religious organizations facilitate insurance coverage for sterilization and contraception, including drugs that cause abortion.

The Cardinal Newman Society is urging its members and others to submit comments and protest this dangerous violation of religious freedom.  (See instructions below.)

As explained by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops:

In February 2013 the Obama administration published a new “proposed rule” containing revisions to its earlier mandate requiring most health plans to cover contraception,sterilization and abortion-inducing drugs. These revisions did very little to correct the underlying problem with the mandate. A large number of religious organizations, including schools, colleges and universities, hospitals and charitable organizations will be forced to provide objectionable coverage. Businesses and individuals of faith will lose the right to provide health care coverage that respects their deeply held religious and moral convictions.

Today The Center for the Advancement of Catholic Higher Education, a program of The Cardinal Newman Society, with the generous assistance of the Alliance Defending Freedom, submitted comments to the Administration on behalf of 22 Catholic colleges and higher education programs protesting the proposed changes.

Public comments can be submitted until 11:59 p.m. EST,Monday, April 8, according to the following easy steps:

1. Highlight and copy the message below (you can edit it as you like) or prepare your own message.

2. Go to the official federal government site for comments on the HHS mandate.

3. Complete all of Section 1.  (For “Organization Name,” type “individual”. Do not type “The Cardinal Newman Society,” as that will distract from the comment submitted today by the Newman Society and Catholic colleges.)

4. Paste your message into Section2.

5. Click “Submit” to send your message.

6. Notify The Cardinal Newman Society that you have submitted a comment, and urge others to comment before the deadline!

For Step 1, the Newman Society recommends this text:

Comment Re: Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on Preventive Services
File Code No. CMS-9968-P

I strongly urge the Department of Health and Human Services to reconsider its course of action which would force all stakeholders with a religious or moral objection to provide, offer, pay for or in any way participate in a health insurance plan that covers or specifically triggers coverage of contraceptives (including abortifacients as well as non-abortifacient mechanisms of action), sterilization, and related education and counseling. The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution requires nothing less.

-          The mandate unquestionably violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, the Administrative Procedures Act, and the U.S. Constitution itself.

-          The mandate provides an unduly narrow definition of “religious employer,” restricting it to places of worship.

-          The accommodation proposed by the HHS creates a religious caste system whereby some religious organizations are exempt from the mandate while others are not.

-          Since all of the “preventive services” can be obtained through other sources, there is no compelling interest to justify the mandate.

-          The mandate violates the well-formed consciences of many Americans by requiring them to take an action to which they are morally opposed.

-          The administration creates a category of preventative health care which is not health care by treating pregnancy as a disease and children as non-persons.

The struggle for religious freedom is at a decisive moment in our nation. We must protect this right not only for own sake, but for the sake of our children, our grandchildren and all future generations.

Catholic Education Daily is an online publication of The Cardinal Newman Society. Click here for email updates and free online membership with The Cardinal Newman Society.

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