2012-06-16 Vatican RadioSharpening an election-year confrontation over religious freedom, the Catholic Health Association yesterday rejected President Barack Obama’s proposal to modify regulations that would force virtually all private health plans in the US to provide coverage of sterilization and contraception — including abortifacient drugs.
The rejection of the proposed amendments to the controversial health care mandate marks a reversal for the which had been a key ally in Obama's health care overhaul, defying opposition from church bishops to help the president win approval in Congress.
In a letter addressed to the Obama administration, the organisation noted that they supported the “right of everyone to affordable, accessible health care.”
The CHA had also initially supported President Obama’s proposed accommodation to the controversial health care mandate. However, they said, further study showed that the accommodation did not address their concerns. They insisted that Catholic hospitals, health care organisations and other Church ministries should not be forced to provide or pay for morally objectionable services such as contraception.
The CHA was strongly critical of attempts by the Administration to distinguish between the religious and secular elements of their work. “To make this distinction,” they said, “is to create a false dichotomy between the Catholic Church and the ministries through which the Church lives out the teachings of Jesus Christ.”
Catholic health care providers, they said, “participate in the healing ministry of Jesus Christ. Our mission and our ethical standards in health care are rooted in and inseparable from the Catholic Church and it’s teachings about the dignity of the human person and the sanctity of human life from conception to natural death.”
Friday’s letter brings the CHA into line with the bishops of the United States, who have spoken out unanimously against the Mandate as an attack on religious liberty.
Listen to Christopher Wells report: