Knights of Columbus Files Formal Comment on HHS Mandate

Supreme Knight Asks Administration to ‘Chart Another Course’

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HAMDEN, Connecticut, JUNE 21, 2012 ( The Knights of Columbus filed a formal comment with the United States Department of Health and Human Services on June 19. It called on the government to rethink the unpopular health care rules that will force many Catholic employers to pay for abortifacients, contraceptives and other interventions that violate the faith.

The letter was signed by Supreme Knight Carl Anderson. He urged “the Administration to rescind the Mandate altogether,” or at least “to expand the religious exemption so that it covers all objecting individuals and organizations from cooperating in actions that genuinely offend their religious beliefs and moral convictions.”

“To exempt only some institutions on the principle of respect for religious liberty, as the Government seems to contemplate, and to refuse to exempt individuals makes no sense. The right to the free exercise of religion enshrined in the First Amendment extends to the people,” the letter says.

In the letter, the Knights, who have 1.3 million members in the United States, noted that the mandate “requires private Catholic individuals and entities, including organizations such as the Knights of Columbus, to violate their most deeply held religious beliefs,” and that “it appears to do so in violation of federal law and the First Amendment of the Constitution.”

The letter also pointed out that “it is improper to deny statutory and First Amendment rights to religious liberty in order to create an entitlement to sterilization, abortifacients, and contraception.”

The letter said that “there is no reason why the Affordable Care Act should not conform to those protections that exist in other contexts throughout the law, both at the state and federal level, and have stood for decades.”

In also urges that “whatever the intent of the Mandate, and whatever form it takes, it should not compel religious individuals to pay for what they believe is morally wrong. It is time for this Administration to chart another course.”

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