USCCB Urges Support for 'Respect for Rights of Conscience Act'
WASHINGTON—The Committee on Pro-Life Activities of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has written to urge all members of the U.S. House of Representatives to support a bipartisan bill protecting conscience rights in health insurance. The Respect for Rights of Conscience Act of 2011 (HR 1179) was introduced by Reps. Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE) and Dan Boren (D-OK).
The US Bishops aim to help ensure that the new health care reform act is not misused to violate the religious freedom and rights of conscience of those who offer and purchase health insurance coverage.
Federal law, until now, has never prevented the issuers and purchasers of health coverage from negotiating a health plan that is consistent with their moral and religious convictions. This could change, however, with implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) as now written.
The proposed law establishes a new list of 'essential health benefits' that will be mandatory for most health plans throughout the United States, and also requires all group and individual plans to cover general 'preventive services, as well as additional preventive services specifically for women.
Planned Parenthood and other pro-abortion groups have been urging that mandated preventive services for women to include all drugs and devices approved by the FDA for contraception—including those that can prevent the implantation and survival of a newly conceived human being, and hence are seen as abortifacient by the Catholic Church and many others.
Mandated inclusion of contraception, sterilization and abortifacient drugs in health plans poses an obvious potential conflict with rights of conscience. Such conflicts would also arise if HHS mandates inclusion of some fertility treatments such as in vitro fertilization, treatments using material from deliberately killed unborn children, or other procedures specifically rejected by the teachings of some religions.
PPACA arbitrarily and inexplicably does not protect the many religious denominations – including those providing the backbone of the nonprofit health care system in this country – whose moral teaching rejects specific procedures. If religious and other stakeholders are driven out of the health insurance marketplace by this aspect of PPACA, legislation whose purpose was to expand health coverage could have the opposite effect.
Read the Full Text from USCCB.
College Prohibits Internship at Planned Parenthood
COLCHESTER— St. Michael’s College, New England, has denied a student credit for her time interning at Planned Parenthood.
The school’s decision was made to preserve its Catholic identity. “There is an attempt to make sure things we do agree with the Catholic belief,” said St. Michael’s dean Jeffery Trumbower.
The Cardinal Newman Society and TFP Student Action have criticized several Catholic campuses for allowing student internships or offering health referrals to Planned Parenthood.
In February, TFP Student Action launched a protest petition against a Jesuit Seattle University that consents to internships at Planned Parenthood to fulfill academic requirements for a Public Affairs degree.
Read full story.
Marriage Wins in Colorado
DENVER—A bill that would have created same-sex civil unions in Colorado was defeated by a 6-5 voting along party lines.
Denver Auxiliary Bishop James Conley had earlier expressed his opposition to the bill saying it was a clever way to create a springboard to impose same-sex ‘marriage’ on Colorado and weaken marriage as an institution.
Canadian Brother Advances on Path to Sainthood
VATICAN CITY—Canadian Brother Adolphe Chatillon is one step closer to sainthood. The Holy Father signed a decree recognizing Brother Chatillon’s heroic virtues.
Before Brother Chatillon can be beatified, the pope will have to recognize a miracle attributed to his intercession.
Brother Chatillon, 1871-1929, taught in schools in Quebec and at the Christian Brothers’ novitiate.
Pope Benedict XVI advanced the sainthood causes of 35 candidates, among them a 14-year-old boy from his native Bavaria.
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