The Catholic Health Association with its 2,000 Catholic hospitals and related organizations, enthusiastically supports Obamacare. They expressed support for the HHS mandate back in February despite the opposing stance of the bishops.
Sister Carol Keehan, the President and Executive Director of the network, held firm in her support for the compromise even as the Catholic bishops warned against it.
In a turnabout, the Catholic Health Association (CHA) on Friday sent a letter to an official, Ms. Marilyn Tavenner of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services under the Health and Human Services (HHS) Department, stating that “We remain deeply concerned, however, with the approach the Administration has taken with respect to contraceptive services, especially abortifacient drugs1 and sterilization.”
The letter points to the definition of religious employers as so narrow that it excludes Catholic hospitals and health care organizations as well as other religious institutional employers…The Definition Of “Religious Employer” Must Be Broadened To Cover All Ministries Of The Church..”
While CHA is no longer standing behind a mandate that clearly violates their religious tenets, they seek a new more dangerous definition.
The new definition would include their organizations but will likely exclude many other Catholic institutions, and would definitely exclude nondenominational Christian schools, colleges, charities and other organizations that are not affiliated with a recognized “church.”
In a letter to HHS today, CHA said –
We reiterate our suggestion contained in our September 22nd letter that the concepts contained in Section 414(e) be used instead to develop a broader and more appropriate religious employer exemption to the contraceptive mandate. Under those principles, an organization would be covered by the exemption if it “shares common religious bonds and convictions with a church.”
The bishops warned against this last year –
…[S]uch an exemption would be inadequate, because it would fail to protect many stakeholders with a moral or religious objection to contraceptives or sterilization, including individuals, insurers, and even many religiously affiliated organizations.
CHA is looking for an accommodation that would suit their institutions but not others. It would be a disaster for the cause of religious liberty. Isn’t it time for Sister Keehan and her staff to have their positions terminate?
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