The Obama administration is close to proclaiming from its glass mountaintop the final decision to require most health insurers to cover contraceptives, the morning-after pill, and elective sterilization. The public comment period is over. The people have spoken into that vacuum known as government of the people, by the people, and for the administration.
The administration preordained this decision long ago, but for the sake of appearances provided a window for public comment. At least that’s the way we read it.
And now, at the eleventh hour, folks are publicly demanding fairness. During the debates over Obamacare, which began in 2009, we did not hear much opposition from many of these folks. Rare was the public statement exposing the many flaws including invasion of religious liberty, violation of conscience, or arrogant indifference to the principle of subsidiarity. Some of us knew that these were but a few of the problems with Obamacare; others chose to ignore them and focus exclusively on surgical abortion.
Now the tide has turned. But could it be too little too late?
The Catholic bishops have announced the formation of a new Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty to address growing concerns over the erosion of freedom of religion in America. In its media release the USCCB states,
Archbishop Dolan said that, although he and his predecessor as USCCB president, Cardinal Francis George, had sent private letters to President Obama on religious liberty in the context of redefining marriage, none of those letters received a response.
“I have offered to meet with the president to discuss these concerns and to impress upon him the dire nature of these actions by government,” Archbishop Dolan said.
Archbishop Dolan listed six religious liberty concerns arising just since June.
Included in the list are “Federal Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) regulations that would mandate the coverage of contraception (including abortifacients) and sterilization in all private health insurance plans, which could coerce church employers to sponsor and pay for services they oppose. The new rules do not protect insurers or individuals with religious or moral objections to the mandate.”
In addition to the USCCB action, Catholic colleges are up in arms over the mandate, and at long last are making public statements in opposition to the strong-arm tactics of the Obama administration. Eighteen Catholic colleges “have asked the Obama administration to repeal a recent decision to include birth control in a list of preventive health care services.” Furthermore, “eighteen Catholic colleges and universities, all marked by their commitment to Catholic identity and fidelity to Catholic teaching, joined today with The Cardinal Newman Society in an appeal to the Obama administration to exempt all religious objectors from a mandate requiring health insurance plans to cover sterilization and contraceptives, including some that cause abortion.”
The flurry of activity has been heartening, particularly in light of the revelation that the mandate to provide no-cost birth control to the poor is based on flawed facts, according to professor of law Helen Alvare. Alvare criticized the data supporting the federal mandate announced by health officials in August. She says proponents of the contraceptive mandate “fail completely to account for the fact that, since the federal government began its aggressive campaign to provide free or low cost birth control to millions of Americans in 1970 ... rates of nonmarital births and abortions have grown, not diminished.”
Lest we forget, respect for the dignity of the human person does not fall on hearing ears among Obama-ites. So, at this point, whether or not the Obama administration respects recent calls for moral sanity, accuracy and integrity remain to be seen, but in the meantime we cannot forget that this is the same administration that seeks out willing pro-abortion Catholics to serve in the highest ranks of its policy-making apparatus.
Given that fact, the first action item is prayer and fasting. But you can also do more. Extend thanks and provide encouragement to Archbishop Dolan for his latest announcement: http://www.archny.org/news-events/media-contact/.
Thank the Cardinal Newman Society for getting Catholic universities organized as a voice for reason: http://www.cardinalnewmansociety.org/JoinSupportorContactUs/tabid/61/Default.aspx.
Join our campaign to expose the falsehoods about contraception by promoting THE PILL KILLS educational outreach: www.thepillkills.org.
Never give up! God is on our side.