A bad day.
This comes one day after Pope Benedict gave an important address to US bishops on freedom of religion and the role of the Church in American culture and politics.
Coincidence? I think not.
Pres. Obama’s Administration has declared war on freedom of religion and exceptions of conscience when it comes to what Catholics know as the intrisically evil of abortion.
Kathleen Sebelius, (catholic) Secretary for Health and Human Services, issued a statement that the HHS would not attend to concerns of religious employers in regard to the HHS’s rules which require health insurance coverage for sterilizations and abortifacient “contraception”, except… except.. get this… to allow religious groups one year to comply!
The language is little short of creepy.
The Sebelius statement is as follows with my emphases and comments:
In August 2011, the Department of Health and Human Services issued an interim final rule that will require most health insurance plans to cover preventive services for women including recommended contraceptive services without charging a co-pay, co-insurance or a deductible. The rule allows [My God! The arrogance….] certain non-profit religious employers that offer insurance to their employees the choice of whether or not to cover contraceptive services. Today the department is announcing that the final rule on preventive [Orwellian, no?] health services will ensure [such warm and supportive language…] that women with health insurance coverage will have access to the full range of the Institute of Medicine’s recommended preventive services, including all FDA -approved forms of contraception. [Any abortifacients?] Women will not have to forego these services because of expensive co-pays or deductibles, or because an insurance plan doesn’t include contraceptive services. This rule is consistent with the laws in a majority of states which already require contraception coverage in health plans, and includes the exemption in the interim final rule allowing certain religious organizations not to provide contraception coverage. Beginning August 1, 2012, most new and renewed health plans will be required to cover these services without cost sharing for women across the country.
After evaluating comments, we have decided to add an additional element to the final rule. [Get this…] Nonprofit employers who, based on religious beliefs, do not currently provide contraceptive coverage in their insurance plan, will be provided an additional year, until August 1, 2013, to comply with the new law. [Get that? You have one year to comply. Then you will have to conform against your religious beliefs.] Employers wishing to take advantage of the additional year must certify that they qualify for the delayed implementation. [Watch this…] This additional year will allow these organizations more time and flexibility to adapt to this new rule. We intend to require employers that do not offer coverage of contraceptive services to provide notice to employees, which will also state that contraceptive services are available at sites such as community health centers, public clinics, and hospitals with income-based support. We will continue to work closely with religious groups during this transitional period to discuss their concerns. [In a similar way, Pres. Obama spoke about “common ground”, right? Mendacious.]
[But wait! This will convince you that they are right. Here comes the SCIENCE! SCIENTISTS will help you change and comply.] Scientists have abundant evidence that birth control has significant health benefits for women and their families, it is documented to significantly reduce health costs, and is the most commonly taken drug in America by young and middle-aged women. This rule will provide women with greater access to contraception by requiring coverage and by prohibiting cost sharing. [Evil.]
[And now, with that little tilt of the head, she tells us that this was a tough decision. They struggled with this, I’ll bet. That should be enough to exonerate them of any blame, innoculate them from any accusation of ill-will.] This decision was made after very careful consideration, including the important concerns some have raised about religious liberty. [Really important to them, you can tell.] I believe this proposal strikes the appropriate balance [weasel] between respecting religious freedom and increasing access to important preventive services. [Yah, okay. I get it now. These are “important” preventive services!] The administration remains fully committed to its partnerships with faith-based organizations, [So long as they comply with our will and total disregard for religious liberty.] which promote healthy communities and serve the common good. And this final rule will have no impact on the protections that existing conscience laws and regulations give to health care providers. [… HUH?]
I’d vote for a frozen orange juice can in November 2012.
Listen to this PODCAzT now, of you haven’t already.
The young papist has his take HERE.
USCCB reaction HERE.