Cardinal Dolan reaffirms bishops’ opposition to HHS mandate
Sep 19, 2013 / 03:20 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- As scores of lawsuits against the federal contraception mandate continue to move through the courts, the head of the U.S. bishops’ conference has voiced renewed commitment to defending religious liberty.
“The bishops have made clear their strong, unified commitment to protecting religious freedom,” said Kim Daniels, spokesperson for Cardinal Timothy Dolan, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
“The HHS mandate restricts the ability of Catholic apostolates to witness to our faith in its fullness,” she told CNA, “a witness that is at the core of their ministry.”
The mandate – issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services – requires nearly all employers to offer health insurance covering free contraception, sterilizations, and some drugs that may cause early abortions.
The policy has sparked serious concerns and led to lawsuits from more than 200 plaintiffs, including religious schools, charities, hospitals and private individuals who do not qualify for the narrow religious exemption included in the mandate but say that facilitating the required products and procedures forces them to violate the teachings of their faith.
Following a Sept. 10-11 meeting of the Administrative Committee of the U.S. bishops’ conference, Cardinal Dolan wrote a letter to his fellow bishops throughout the country.
He explained that the conference will continue to fight against the mandate, saying that it “is a fight that we didn’t ask for, and would rather not be in, but it’s certainly one that we won’t run from.”
Responding to religious freedom concerns over the mandate, the Obama administration instituted a series of delays and revisions, creating an “accommodation” for some religious employers to have the objectionable products provided indirectly to their employees through a third-party insurer. …
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