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?)
Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis visits poor neighborhood and meets with young people from Argentina
Pope Francis celebrates Mass at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida
Denver rally draws hundreds in support of religious freedom
Pope Francis prays over a sick man in St Peter's Square
Denver women's clinic will offer natural, Catholic care
Interview Clips: Barbara Nicolosi speaks to CNA
US Cardinals press conference at North American College
Pope Benedict to retire to monastery inside Vatican City
Pope cites waning strength as reason for resignation
Hundreds convene in Denver to urge respect for life
New Orange bishop encourages Catholic unity in diversity
Chinese pro-life activist calls for reform, international attention
At Lincoln installation, Bishop Conley says holiness is success
Mother Cabrini shrine reopens in Chicago after a decade
Ordination of 33 deacons fills St. Peter's with joy
Cardinal says "Charity is the mother of all the virtues"
Augustine Institute expands evangelization effort with new campus
Bishops recall 'Way of St. James' as chance to trust in God
Los Angeles cathedral's newest chapel houses Guadalupe relic
Apr
24

Liturgical Calendar

April 24, 2014

Thursday within the Octave of Easter

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Lk 24:35-48

Gospel
Date
04/24/14
04/23/14
04/22/14

Daily Readings


First Reading:: Acts 3:11-26
Gospel:: Lk 24:35-48

Saint of the Day

Easter Sunday »

Saint
Date
04/24/14
04/22/14

Homily of the Day

Lk 24:35-48

Homily
Date
04/24/14
04/23/14
04/22/14

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com
     HTML
Text only
Headlines
  

Follow us: