The Obama administration had dragged its feet on providing the final version of HHS mandate regulations, a tactic that effectively prevented many groups suing for their religious freedom to be allowed to do so, on the basis that the government had not actually finalized the regulation they were objecting to.
They released it today, and it makes no serious accommodations of those whose conscience forbids cooperation with the moral evils of contraception, abortion and sterilization. Monstrous:
According to the regulation, when a religious non-profit insures its employees through an insurance company, the insurance company will be required to provide free sterilizations, contraceptives and abortion-inducing drugs to the religious non-profit’s employees free of charge. Theoretically, the particular health insurance plan that the religious non-profit buys from an insurance company will not itself buy these things. Instead, in theory, the insurance company providing the health insurance plan to the religious non-profit will use other money that is theoretically walled off from the premiums it received from the religious non-profit to buy the services that violate the non-profit’s religious beliefs.
Figuratively, the insurance company will take the money for the insurance premiums from the religious organization and put them in its right pocket. When the insurance company needs to pay for a sterilization procedure or an abortion-inducing drug for one of the religious organization’s workers, it will take the money to pay for that out of its left pocket.
When a religious non-profit self-insures, the third party administrator will either have to pay for the sterilizations, contraceptives or abortion-inducing drugs itself, or arrange for an insurance issuer to do so. In this scenario, the regulation says the government will compensate the third party administrator or insurance company by providing it with an accommodation in the fees it pays to the state insurance exchange.
The regulation does not address the right of insurance companies or third-party administrators not to be forced by the federal government to pay for sterilizations, contraceptives and abortion-inducing drugs. Thus, people whose religious and moral beliefs hold that these things are immoral will be precluded from operating businesses in these industries.
For example: A Catholic university could not contract with an insurance company owned by a Catholic family to provide its insurance–because the Catholic family just like the Catholic university would be prevented by its faith from paying for sterilizations, contraceptives and abortion-inducing drugs. Under the final regulation, the insurance company for a Catholic university will be forced to pay for sterilizations, contraceptives and abortion-inducing drugs.
Catholic non-profits, under the final regulation, will be forced to patronize for-profit businesses that have no problem with killing unborn children.
The only people left in America who would be able to operate health insurance companies and third-party administrators would be those people ready and willing to pay for abortion-inducing drugs.
The regulation itself can be viewed on the government website here.
Profound shame on every Catholic organization that declined to state clearly their objection to these evils–and shame on the lay people and the clergy who could have spoken up but failed. Thanks to the so many who DID. There is more heroism that will be needed.
But you know what, this is not simply a “religious freedom” issue. Oh, our religion obliges us to follow the natural moral law, so in that sense we’re calling for our freedom to practice our religion. But too often we have stopped short of what we should have been all along stating before the world, in charity: that contraception and sterilization, as well as abortion are objectively grave moral evils, are bad for women, men, children, families and society. We shouldn’t cooperate with these evils, not simply because we are religious, but because they are wrong and ultimately harmful to everyone. And same for sodomy and all homosexual behavior. Same for fornication and concubinage. Same for masturbation and pornography. Same for greed and theft and financial exploitation. Same for drunkenness and drugs and violent ways.
Above all, we are about Yes to the good. But in a way, this must preceded by a No to what is bad or simply a distraction, in order to make room for the good, which is otherwise crowded out, marginalized, compartmentalized. This doesn’t happen in a day, and it doesn’t happen without the grace of God. (Come, Holy Spirit) Empty yourself absolutely of every evil, everything worthless, and say YES to Christ Crucified, and follow Him and may the goodness of your life, your humility, your piety be a light.
Have you avoided telling others that you believe contraception is morally wrong and harmful to everyone? How about homosexual behavior? We need to speak the truth in charity. Do you talk about marriage in a way that makes it more understandable, that shows its truth and beauty? How about chaste unmarried life? It’s not that life is all about these issues, but confusion about these things keep people separated from God and the Church, and the government is conspiring with satan to bring about their eternal suffering. There is a stark choice. Do people see your joy in God and your simple love for the Catholic Church?
Finally, please come to the weekly 7pm Thursday evening Rosary Rallies on the State Street Steps of the Wisconsin State Capitol!