Religious liberty is threatened by health care law

February 8, 2012

Utilizing authority granted to it in President Obama’s health care law, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced last week that in one year, almost all employers, including religiously affiliated employers, will be forced to offer their employees health insurance that covers sterilization, abortion-inducing drugs, and contraception. Almost all health insurers will be forced to include those so-called “preventive services” in the health policies they write, and almost all individuals will be forced to buy that coverage as a part of their policies.

In so ruling, the federal government’s current administration has cast aside the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, denying to many people of faith the right of religious liberty. The rule especially targets the Catholic Church, which is the largest institutional church in the nation and clearly opposes abortion and contraception. By this rule, the government will attempt to compel Catholic institutions to either violate their own teaching, or to drop health coverage for their employees (and suffer the penalties for doing so).

The Bishops have made it clear: the Catholic Church cannot and will not comply with this unjust law. Regardless of how you feel about the church’s teaching on abortion and contraception, you must respect the right of religious institutions and free citizens of faith to hold to those teachings and not be compelled by government order to violate them. This is a matter of grave concern, touching on the very foundations of liberty, and we ask your help.

We ask all people of faith and good will to actively support and do all you can to advance the Respect for Rights of Conscience Act. The act has been introduced in both the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate as H.R.1179 and S.1467. And as the Catholic Church and many other people of faith move forward, exploring all opportunities for overturning this unjust government mandate, we ask you to lend your prayers, your voice and your support to this profoundly important cause.

Zach Wichmann
Director of Government Relations
Catholic Conference of Illinois
Springfield, Ill.

From the Feb. 8-14, 2012, issue

4 Comments

  1. Kitty

    February 12, 2012 at 10:22 pm

    Most of the employees of these “religious” institutions are NOT of their belief systems. Why should an employee be denied birth control “rights” just because of the belief system of an employer? IF you employ the public, then you MUST allow them the same health insurance coverage they would have working anywhere else!! There are more religious beliefs in the US than just Catholisism–THEY should learn to tolerate others’ beliefs too.

  2. Kitty

    February 12, 2012 at 10:23 pm

    sorry, it should have read Catholicism!

  3. Dan

    February 16, 2012 at 8:46 am

    Which Amendment addressed the “right” to birth control? I must have missed that one.

  4. Mary C.

    February 18, 2012 at 3:43 pm

    The employer should have the choice of of what they offer their employees. If their employees are not of agreement, they can get a different job. Government needs to stay out of Religious freedom and freedom of choices people are allowed to make. We do not have a government run religious institutions so they should be allowed the freedom to choose what they offer their employees and what they (churches) choose to pay for. We have the right to be free to make that choice here in The United States of America!!! Get the government out of Health care, school lunches, peoples bedrooms, etc. Keep FREEDOM alive!

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