At long-last, the onerous “birth control mandate” is now officially gone! The Department of Health and Human Service (HHS) issued a final rule yesterday that will provide conscience protections for Americans who have a religious or moral objection to health insurance that covers contraception methods.
In what is being called a smashing victory for religious freedom, U.S. District Court Judge David Russell has issued a ruling in which he declared the Obama Administration’s controversial “birth control mandate” to be a violation of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and has stopped all enforcement of the mandate against dozens of Catholic dioceses and institutions.
Both sides of the lawsuit concerning the U.S. government’s controversial birth control mandate moved one-step closer to conclusion this week as the government and representatives of the Little Sisters filed court-ordered proposals for alternatives to the way the program is currently being run.
Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and other religious leaders have expressed disappointment with the revisions made to the birth control mandate that still do not protect the consciences of those who object to this coverage on religious grounds.
The Obama Administration has announced that it is planning to revise a problematic rule requiring religious employers who wish to be exempt from providing contraceptive coverage to file paperwork with health insurance companies, but skeptics are taking a “wait and see” attitude toward the announcement.
U.S. District Court Judge Callie V.S. Granade of Mobile, Ala. issued an opinion on June 17 denying EWTN Global Catholic Network protection from the government mandate that it must provide coverage of contraception, abortion-inducing drugs and sterilization as part of its employee health care coverage.
Even though the U.S. bishops are still examining the 100+ page final birth control mandate ruling issued last week, they have joined with Christian leaders representing 100 million Americans in issuing a letter to the people outlining why they need to be concerned about the government’s encroachment on religious freedom.
The U.S. Supreme Court has ordered the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals to examine the constitutionality of the controversial birth control mandate, a step that could open the door for a high court review of the law as early as next year.
Commentary by Susan Brinkmann, OCDS
During a speech that encouraged graduates to embrace relativism when dealing with the subject of faith in the public square, Kathleen Sebelius’ much anticipated address at Georgetown University on May 18 was anything but pleasant as she found herself being heckled just two minutes into her speech.
Rather than take on the thorny issue of how the birth control mandate in ObamaCare infringes on religious freedom in America, House Minority Leader and professed “devout Catholic” Nancy Pelosi dodged the question by saying she doesn’t have to agree with the U.S. bishops when they are acting like “lobbyists.”