Update on American HHS birth control mandate controversy: January, 2013

The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) has filed a lawsuit against the regulation on behalf of two Ohio companies [Lifenews]. A U.S. District Judge has dismissed suits  filed by the Archdiocese of Washington and four other Catholic nonprofit groups on the grounds that the suits are premature [Bloomberg] Lawsuits filed by Colorado Christian University and Notre Dame University in Indiana have also been dismissed [The Coloradoan; First Things].  The Catholic diocese of Nashville, Tennessee and seven other groups in the state are appealing a lower court ruling against them[The Tennessean].  In Illinois, a temporary injunction has been granted against state legislation that is similar to the HHS regulation because the state’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act and Health Care Right of Conscience Act [Georgia Bulletin].  However, the U.S. federal government is appealing a decision to grant a temporary injunction against the HHS regulation to Tyndale House Publishers Inc. of Illinois [Bloomberg].A temporary injunction against the HHS regulation has been granted to a Missouri company, Sharpe Holdings Inc., the third such injunction granted in the state [St. Louis Beacon].    Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli attracted criticism because of his remarks to the effect that the nature of the HHS regulation will only become apparent if people go to jail for refusing to obey it [Reason.com]

For a map and up-to-date overview of lawsuits filed against the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, see the Becket Fund’s HHS Information Central.

Warning that protection of conscience laws may enable euthanasia

Burke J. Balch, J.D., director of National Right to Life Committee’s Robert Powell Center for Medical Ethics in the USA, has warned that protection of conscience laws like the  Illinois Health Care Right of Conscience Act and Mississippi’s Health Care Rights of Conscience Act are dangerous because they may permit health care workers to commit euthanasia by withdrawing or refusing to provide medical treatment for reasons of conscience. [NRTL News]


Comment following meeting of Illinois Catholic bishops and governor

Following a meeting with Illinois State Governor Pat Quinn with nine Catholic bishops from the state, Francis Cardinal George commented, “As Catholic pastors we wanted to remind the governor that conscience, while always free, is properly formed in harmony with the tradition of the church as defined by scripture and authentic teaching authority. A personal conscience that is not consistent with authentic Catholic teaching is not a Catholic conscience.” [National Catholic Reporter]


Illinois HB2354 to nullify Health Care Right of Conscience Act

 (Illinois, USA: 2009-2010)

  • Sean Murphy* | Illinois has a broadly worded protection of conscience law for health care workers, one of the most comprehensive in the United States.  There seems to be no evidence that the law has caused any problem in the state. Perhaps for this reason, those who want to suppress freedom of conscience have not tried torepeal or amend the existing law.  Instead, they have introduced a bill that will effectively nullify the Health Care Right of Conscience Act. Full Text