The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops today sent a letter to U.S. senators outlining its strong opposition to the “Protect Women’s Health from Corporate Interference Act of 2014,” i.e. the bill proposed by Senators Patty Murray (D., Wash.) and Mark Udall (D., Colo.) to gut religious-freedom protections in the wake of the Hobby Lobby decision.
“Though cast as a response to the Supreme Court’s narrow decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, the bill ranges far beyond that decision, potentially attacking all existing federal protections of conscience and religious freedom regarding health coverage mandates,” Reverend William Lori and Sean Cardinal O’Malley write in the letter.
They note that the bill explicitly curtails the Religious Freedom Restoration act while claiming to uphold it and would have implications for conscience rights beyond the issues of contraception and abortificaients at issue in the current mandate. “If, in the future, the executive branch chose to add the abortion pill RU-486, or even elective surgical abortion, including late-term abortion, to the list of ‘preventive services’ those who object to providing or purchasing such coverage would appear to have no recourse under RFRA or ‘any other provision of Federal law’ that may have protected against this mandate,” they write.
The bill, they conclude, “does not befit a nation committed to religious liberty.”
Read the whole letter below, and Ed Whelan’s analysis of the bill from last week.
07-14-14 Lori-O’Malley Letter Re Murray-Udall Bill by Matt Franck