Loading
Catholic legal experts warn HHS against requiring coverage of contraception and sterilization
Health and Human Services secretary Kathleen Sebelius and USCCB General Counsel Anthony Picarello
Health and Human Services secretary Kathleen Sebelius and USCCB General Counsel Anthony Picarello

.- Officials with the U.S. Catholic bishops’ conference have urged the Department of Health and Human Services not to require coverage of contraception and sterilization, saying such mandates could compel coverage for abortion-causing drugs and could threaten freedom of conscience.

Anthony Picarello, general counsel of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), and Michael Moses, USCCB associate general counsel, in a September 17 letter to HHS, said that the drugs, devices and procedures under consideration “prevent not a disease condition, but the healthy condition known as fertility.” Contraception and sterilization pose “significant risks” to women’s lives and health, while mandating their coverage would pose “an unprecedented threat to rights of conscience.”

According to the USCCB, Picarello and Moses said such a mandate would threaten the rights of conscience for religious employers and others with moral or religious objections to these procedures.

“In this regard, the Administration’s promise that Americans who like their current coverage will be able to keep it under health care reform would be a hollow pledge,” they argued.

Any mandated coverage would contradict “longstanding federal precedents” about respecting conscientious objection to such procedures. Precedents include the Church Amendment, which has protected conscientious objection to abortion and sterilization since 1973.

The two counsels for the USCCB also challenged the categorization of contraception as “preventive” medicine, noting that abortion is not a disease condition but “a separate procedure that is performed only by agreement between a woman and a health professional.” They cited studies indicating that contraception does not prevent abortion, as the percentage of unintended pregnancies that are ended by abortion is higher if the pregnancy occurred during a period of contraceptive use.

The two also contended that because at least one FDA-approved drug for “emergency contraception” actually causes early abortions, mandating prescription contraception coverage could be in “direct tension” with a statutory prohibition against mandating any abortion service.

“We hope that these considerations will be taken into account as the Department continues deliberations on a final list of required preventive services for women,” Picarello’s and Moses’ letter concluded.


Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages

RESOURCES »

Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

3D Church mapping
3D Church mapping
#PAUSEforPeace Initiative
Dedicating art to San Juan de la Cruz
A state without territory elects new government
The renewal of the Legionaries of Christ
Presentation of the book "The Pastor"
Synod on the Family October 2014
Preferential option for the poor
God is alive, even in sport
'A forbidden God' named Best Film at the International Catholic Film Festival
Vatican backs a 'Pause for Peace' during World Cup final
The effects of religious violence in Sarajevo 
The origin of Corpus Christi 
Corpus Christi at the Vatican 
Homage to an Indian Cardinal
Train of the Child's Light
New book explaining gestures of the Mass
Encounter between Pope Francis and the Charismatic Renewal in the Spirit Movement.
Religious tensions subside amid Balkan floods
John Paul II Center for Studies on Marriage and Family
Jul
30

Liturgical Calendar

July 30, 2014

Wednesday of the Seventeenth Week in Ordinary Time

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Mt 13:44-46

Gospel
Date
07/30/14
07/29/14
07/28/14

Daily Readings


First Reading:: Jer 15: 10, 16-21
Gospel:: Mt 13: 44-46

Saint of the Day

St. Peter Chrysologus »

Saint
Date
07/29/14

Homily of the Day

Mt 13:44-46

Homily
Date
07/30/14
07/29/14
07/28/14

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com
     HTML
Text only
Headlines
  

Follow us: