Health Care Mandates Violate Conscience Rights
On July 19, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) submitted its recommendations to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on the “preventive services for women” to be mandated in almost all private health plans under the new health care law, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). The mandated services include sterilization, all FDA-approved birth control (such as the IUD, ‘morning-after’ pills, and the abortion-inducing drug Ella), and “education and counseling” to promote these among all “women of reproductive capacity.”
On August 1, HHS adopted these recommendations in an interim final rule (60 days for public comment). The rule allows only a very narrow exemption for a “religious employer.”
Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, chairman of the bishops; Committee on Pro-Life Activities, strongly opposed the IOM’s recommendations. People would be forced to carry health coverage “that violates the deeply-held moral and religious convictions of many.” See: usccb.org/news/2011/11-143.cfm. When HHS issued the rule, Cardinal DiNardo charged that the ‘religious’ exemption was so narrow “as to exclude most Catholic social services agencies and healthcare providers,” adding that “Catholics are not alone in conscientiously objecting to this mandate.” See: www.usccb.org/news/2011/11-154.cfm.
The 60 days for public comment on the HHS interim final rule concluded September 30. At year’s end, the rule had not been modified.
In the new year, it would be more important than ever that Members of Congress co-sponsor the Respect for Rights of Conscience Act H.R. 1179/S. 1467).
Please click here for more detailed information on the health care mandates in the Review of Legislation section of this report.