Obama’s Rebuke of Public’s Right to Know

It is always interesting to receive e-mail alerts from my friend Patrick J. Reilly, president and founder of The Cardinal Newman Society. He has toiled in the vineyard of keeping Catholic colleges Catholic for many years—exposing the bad apples and extolling the good ones. This is why his information is of critical importance to us as we work in the vineyard with him to restore moral sanity to our nation.

But his recent e-mail shocked even me! He reported that, according to the Federal Register dated August 3, the Obama administration has set aside public comment on the free distribution of contraceptives—mostly because of how it will affect college-age Americans. The Federal Register states

The July 19, 2010 interim final rules indicated that HRSA expected to issue guidelines by August 1, 2011. After considering public comments raising the issue addressed in these amendments, however, the departments determined that HRSA should be granted the discretion to address the commenter concerns at issue prior to issuing guidelines under section 2713(a)(4). Many college student policy years begin in August and an estimated 1.5 million young adults are estimated to be covered by such policies. Providing an opportunity for public comment as described above would mean that the guidelines could not be issued until after August of 2011. This delay would mean that many students could not benefit from the new prevention coverage without cost-sharing following from the issuance of the guidelines until the 2013-14 school year, as opposed to the 2012-13 school year. Similarly, 2008 data from the Department of Labor indicate that over 4 million Americans have ERISA group health plan coverage that starts in August or September; they too would experience over a year’s delay in the receipt of the new benefit if the public comment period delayed the issuance of the guidance for over a month. The departments have determined that such a delay in implementation of the statutory requirement that women receive vital preventive services without cost-sharing would be contrary to the public interest because it could result in adverse health consequences that may not otherwise have occurred.

This is an outrage and a denial of our freedom as Americans to not allow us to comment on a public rule that affects many of our own children and grandchildren—not to mention potentially violating religious freedom. While Planned Parenthood is ecstatic, and calls the HHS decision a “historic victory” for women, those of us who know better realize that more babies will die, more women will be bodily assaulted by carcinogenic birth control pills, more souls will be jeopardized, and more suffering of every kind will ensue. 

This is why we are focusing attention on what The Cardinal Newman Society is doing and asking you to take action in our mutual quest to rid the government—and the country—of Planned Parenthood and its bias against truth.

As Reilly states in a follow-up press release, “The HHS guidelines would force Catholic colleges to violate the law or violate the Catholic faith. . . . Neither option is acceptable. It appears that Catholic colleges will be forced into the untenable position of helping students as well as employees obtain free contraceptives and sterilization. . . . Our religious freedom is under attack.”

Though we may not be able to publicly comment, we can still voice our opinions. Tell HHS you object to the contraceptive free-for-all by asking your member of Congress to investigate this usurpation of our freedom to comment and protect our children: http://stopplannedparenthood.com/build-letter/. Furthermore, make it known that federal funding for Planned Parenthood should not be an option. Go to http://www.stopplannedparenthoodtaxfunding.com/ to sign the petition to defund Planned Parenthood.

If we are silent, the government will think we agree with—and approve of—what it is doing. It is only when we voice our opinions that we can effect change. Do not hesitate to speak.