By Susan Brinkmann, OCDS
During a fundraiser in St. Louis earlier this week, President Barack Obama bragged about a new regulation that will force religious institutions to provide birth control coverage for their employees, a rule the U.S. bishops have denounced as an “unprecedented attack on religious liberty.”
CNSNews.com is reporting that the comments were made at a fundraiser at the Renaissance Hotel in St. Louis on Wednesday while Obama was touting the new “preventive services” regulation to the audience.
“And, yes, we passed health care reform because no one in America should go bankrupt because somebody in their family gets sick,” said Obama, according to the official White House transcript of his remarks.
“Insurance companies can’t drop your coverage for no good reason,” he continued. “They won’t be able to deny your coverage because of preexisting conditions. Think about what that means for families all across America. Think about what it means for women.”
At that point, an audience member shouted: “Birth control.”
“Absolutely. You’re stealing my line,” Obama said.
“Breast cancer, cervical cancer, are no longer preexisting conditions,” Obama continued. “No longer can insurance companies discriminate against women just because you guys are the ones who have to give birth.”
At this point, a member of a laughing audience shouted out: “Darn right!”
“Darn tooting,” Obama answered back—to laughter. “They have to cover things like mammograms and contraception as preventive care, no more out-of-pocket costs.”
The rule the president and his audience are so appreciative of lists sterilization and all FDA-approved contraceptives – including those that cause abortions – as “preventive services” which means all private health plans in the United States will have to cover these costs without fees or co-pay. Combined with Obamacare’s mandate that all individuals must buy health insurance, the “preventive services” regulation would require all American Catholics to buy health care plans that pay for sterilizations, contraceptives and abortions-all of which violate Catholic moral teaching.
A “religious exemption” was created to try to appease the national outcry from religious organizations but it is so narrowly drawn that it does not include any lay Catholics, Catholic hospitals, charitable organizations, or colleges or universities. This means many major Catholic institutions in the United States will be forced to choose between dropping health insurance coverage for their employees and students or violating the moral teachings of their own church.
The U.S. Catholic bishops are calling for the regulation to be “rescinded in its entirety” and are describing it as “government coercion of religious people.”
“Indeed, such nationwide government coercion of religious people and groups to sell, broker, or purchase ‘services’ to which they have a moral or religious objection represents an unprecedented attack on religious liberty,” the bishops said in a recent statement.
Just last week, the bishops distributed an insert for placement in church bulletins all across the country calling on Catholics to contact the HHS to object to the regulation.
They are also asking Catholics to write to their members of Congress to urge them to support legislation that will overturn the regulation.
Click here to contact your representative about this urgent issue.
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