9 August, 2011
Hannah C. Smith
Last week, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services issued new federal regulations that run roughshod over the moral conscience of many Americans.
Promulgated under the health care reform act commonly referred to as “Obamacare,” the new regulations would require an employer to have a health plan that covers sterilization and contraception — which could include drugs that cause abortion — as part of a larger set of “preventative services” for women. These practices are morally repugnant to many Americans — for some, because it directly contradicts their faith. For example, the doctrine of the Catholic Church, which includes roughly a quarter of Americans, explicitly prohibits such practices.
HHS, apparently recognizing the regulations’ tension with religious belief, did include an exemption from the new regulations for a “religious employer.” But close examination reveals that the exemption may actually cover very few religious employers. So the rule may force out of existence those social service and educational organizations that are the core manifestations of the Catholic doctrine to serve the poor and needy among us. . . . [read more]