Twenty-two Catholic colleges and higher education programs joined today with The Center for the Advancement of Catholic Higher Education, a division of The Cardinal Newman Society, in a memo to the Obama administration, asserting the religious freedom of Catholic educators and rejecting the Administration’s February 1st rules requiring insurance coverage of sterilization and contraception (including drugs that cause abortion).
The joint comment, prepared by the expert attorneys at the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), is posted online here.
The comment asks the Obama administration to exempt all organizations with “a religious or moral objection from being forced 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… ), sterilization, and related education and counseling. Religious freedom requires no less.”
The comment also makes the point that some employees working for religious employers do not want coverage of the items at issue. “This not only forces objecting employees to participate in problematic coverage, but it forces them to enable contraceptive coverage for their children over and against their religious objections,” the comment reads.
Moreover, it notes that religious colleges will be forced to facilitate such coverage through student health plans. Students will be able to get sterilized or goon the Pill—free of charge and without parental consent—by enrolling in a Catholic college’s insurance plan.
The Cardinal Newman Society is encouraging its members and all citizens to go to the federal government’s official page to submit comments before the deadline at midnight Monday. See instructions here.
"Despite assurances from the Administration to the contrary, this mandate would still insist that every employee at Catholic universities and colleges be enrolled in an insurance regiment that includes abortion causing drugs," said Monsignor Stuart Swetland, Director of the Center. "This is not religious liberty as it is defined in our Constitution or in the Catechism."
"The Catholic societies, colleges and universities filing this note teach their students that all are called to live a unity of life – that faith, to be authentic, must affect every aspect of our lives,” continued Msgr. Swetland. “The proposed rule does not recognize this fundamental point. Rather it still insists that some businesses and employers violate their conscience if they are to provide health care to their employees."
“These faithful Catholic educators have every right to stay true to their Catholic identity,” said Patrick J. Reilly, President of The Cardinal Newman Society. “We stand with them in demanding that the government restore American citizens’ precious religious freedom.”
The Obama administration’s revised rule does not address the objections of countless educators, organizations and individuals whose religious freedom is violated. The rule exempts only houses of worship and not the majority of religious institutions, such as colleges, charities and health care organizations. These are instead offered an inadequate “accommodation”which forces them to facilitate health insurance coverage for services that they believe to be gravely immoral.
The memo is signed by leaders of the following:
The Center for the Advancement of Catholic Higher Education in Emmitsburg, Maryland, a division of The Cardinal Newman Society headquartered in Manassas, Virginia;
Aquinas College in Nashville, Tennessee;
Ave Maria University in Ave Maria, Florida;
Assumption College in Worcester, Massachusetts;
Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas;
Catholic Distance University in Hamilton, Virginia;
Christendom College in Front Royal, Virginia;
College of Saint Mary Magdalen in Warner, New Hampshire;
College of Saints John Fisher and Thomas More in Fort Worth, Texas;
Holy Apostles College and Seminary in Cromwell,Connecticut;
Ignatius-Angelicum Liberal Studies Program, an online college program headquartered in San Francisco, California;
Institute for the Psychological Sciences in Arlington,Virginia;
John Paul the Great Catholic University in San Diego,California;
Mexican American Catholic College in San Antonio, Texas;
Mount St. Mary’s University in Emmitsburg, Maryland;
St. Gregory’s University in Shawnee, Oklahoma;
Thomas Aquinas College in Santa Paula, California;
Thomas More College of Liberal Arts in Merrimack, New Hampshire;
University of Mary in Bismarck, North Dakota;
University of St. Thomas in Houston, Texas;
Wyoming Catholic College in Lander, Wyoming; and
The Fellowship of Catholic Scholars, headquartered in Bronx, New York
The Society of Catholic Social Scientists, headquartered in Steubenville, Ohio.
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