Obamacare Strikes Again, Violating Conscience Rights

While everyone was watching the debt-ceiling debate, the Department of Health and Human Services announced mandatory coverage of contraceptives (including ones that may act as abortifacients) and sterilization in new insurance plans, with the narrowest of conscience protection.

In a statement in response to the move, Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, Archbishop of Galveston-Houston, who is chairman of the pro-life office of the bishops’ conference in Washington, explained that “under the new rule our institutions would be free to act in accord with Catholic teaching on life and procreation only if they were to stop hiring and serving non-Catholics.”

He asked: “Could the federal government possibly intend to pressure Catholic institutions to cease providing health care, education and charitable services to the general public?  Health care reform should expand access to basic health care for all, not undermine that goal.”

The cardinal continued: “HHS says the intent of its ‘preventive services’ mandate is to help ‘stop health problems before they start. But pregnancy is not a disease, and children are not a ‘health problem’ — they are the next generation of Americans.”

Those opposing the new rules are simply saying: You can disagree with me on whether or not contraception has helped make a wreck of our lives. But don’t make me violate my conscience.

Kathryn Jean Lopez — Kathryn Jean Lopez is a senior fellow at the National Review Institute and an editor-at-large of National Review. Sign up for her weekly NRI newsletter here. This column is based on one available through Andrews McMeel Universal’s Newspaper Enterprise Association.