In defence of conscientious objection

2013-11-07 L’Osservatore Romano

The US Catholic bishops are again appealing to federal authorities to intervene in order to protect the right to conscientious objection by all those who oppose the spread of abortive practices. In a letter sent to members of the US Congress, Cardinal Sean Patrick O' Malley of Boston, chairman of the Committee on Pro-Life Activities for the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, urged Congress to approve a bill that would require heath care insurers to be more transparent about the coverage they provide for the various services they offer, including those intended to voluntarily end pregnancy. The measure, called the Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act, would require health plans to disclose if they subsidise abortion. The bill's passage would thus remove secrecy from health insurance plans and guarantee transparency regarding coverage for abortive services. Under the current federal health care law, an insurer does not have to reveal how much of the client's premium goes to fund abortion, regardless of the client's moral and religious convictions. Often these “services” are included under women's preventative healthcare.

Cardinal O'Malley cited a 2009 poll which showed that most Americans, and in particular most women, do not want abortion coverage in their health care plans. He said that US citizens must be enabled “to make an informed choice of a health plan for themselves and their families that does not violate their moral and religious convictions”.