House Urged to Repeal Contraception Regulations

Family Research Council Gives Testimony

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WASHINGTON, D.C., MARCH 1, 2012 ( Bishop Lori of Bridgeport, Connecticut, chair of the US bishops’ Ad Hoc Committee on Religious Liberty, spoke about the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act before the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee on Tuesday.

Forcing employers to pay for sterilization and contraceptives, including abortion-inducing drugs, has “absurd consequences,” he said. 

The February 10 changes to the original plan announced by President Barack Obama “would not change the scope of the mandate and its exemption,” he said.

“For present purposes, the ‘accommodation’ is just a legally unenforceable promise to alter the way the mandate would still apply to those who are still not exempt from it,” he said. He added that “the promised alteration appears logically impossible.” 

The fundamental issue at stake, Bishop Lori explained, “is a matter of whether religious people and institutions may be forced by the government to provide coverage for contraception or sterilization, even if that violates their religious beliefs.”

He also questioned why sterilization, contraception, and abortifacients are requirements of the health care act while decisions on prescription drugs and hospitalization that are supposed to be “essential” are “handed off to each state.”

Ardent opposition

Jeanne Monohan, director of the Family Research Council’s (FRC) Center for Human Dignity, also gave testimony on Tuesday.

«In a letter to the President and members of Congress recently signed by thousands of women of 18 different faiths and representing doctors, nurses, lawyers, teachers, mothers, community care workers, business owners, scholars and more women voiced their ardent opposition to the mandate,” she told the committee.

“We call on President Obama, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, and our representatives in Congress to respect religious voices, to respect religious liberty, and to allow religious institutions and individuals to continue to provide witness to their faiths in all their fullness,” the letter stated.

«The contraceptive mandate is an unprecedented directive which deeply conflicts with religious and conscience freedom protections the American people currently receive,» said Monohan.

“In our democratic society governed by the U.S. Constitution, it is not the role of this Administration to dictate what does or does not violate another person’s conscience on matters as critical as life and death,” she added.

“We urge you not to allow this President to discriminate against those with moral or religious objections to this mandate coverage of contraceptives, sterilization services, and abortifacients,» she said.

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Bishop Lori’s written and oral testimony:

Jeanne Monohan’s testimony:

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