According to a press release by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), the statement, which was published in Politico and The Hill, calls for legislative reform of the health care law to protect conscience rights which are being violated by the new HHS rule. This rule will force Catholic organizations to pay for services such as sterilization and contraceptives, including drugs which can cause abortions.
Forcing Catholic institutions to choose between violating their conscience or severely curtailing health care services "would harm both religious freedom and access to health care," the statement says.
"The HHS mandate puts many faith-based organizations and individuals in an untenable position," it argues. "But it also harms society as a whole by undermining a long American tradition of respect for religious liberty and freedom of conscience. In a pluralistic society, our health care system should respect the religious and ethical convictions of all."
The statement was signed by some of the country's top Catholic leaders such as Archbishop Timothy Dolan, president of the USCCB and Jose Gomez, Archbishop of Los Angeles. The heads of Catholic universities also signed on, such as John Jenkins CSC of Notre Dame and Catholic University president John Garvey JD. The heads of major Catholic healthcare associations such as Jan R. Hemstad, MD, president of the Catholic Medical Association and William J. Cox, President and CEO of the Alliance of Catholic Health Care also signed on. The heads of Catholic Charities and Catholic Relief Services were also among the signatories, as were leaders of groups such as the Knights of Columbus, Knights of St. Peter Claver, and the Catholic Daughters of America.
The statement, which appeared as an ad under the headline, "Support Access to Health Care? Protect Conscience Rights" ends by calling for immediate action to correct this egregious violation of the religious rights of Americans.
"We ask Congress, the Administration, and our fellow Americans to acknowledge this truth and work with us to reform the law accordingly."
Click here to view the ad.�
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