.- The Catholic Advocate organization has launched a new video in an effort to defend religious liberty against the HHS mandate and rally support for the proposed Respect for Rights of Conscience Act.
“People of faith across the country are joining together in support of our religious liberties,” Matt Smith, president of the D.C.-based organization, said Feb. 27.
The video, titled “Catholic Advocate: Consultation,” criticizes the HHS mandate of Jan. 20 and the “accommodation” announced on Feb. 10 for failing to respond to concerns raised by religious groups. These actions will force religious institutions “to do something that goes against their beliefs,” it says.
“Catholic Bishops, who interpret the doctrine of the Church, and leaders of other religious groups, were not consulted. Yet, the head of Planned Parenthood was … and the mandate was finalized without addressing our concerns.”
Many Catholic institutions self-insure and will still be required to pay for contraception coverage, even though it is against their beliefs, the video notes.
“Insurance companies have already said their costs will go up and be passed along to customers,” it adds.
The video asks concerned citizens to contact Congress and tell its members to support H.R. 1179 and S. 1467, the Respect for Rights of Conscience Act.
“Help defend our religious liberties,” it urges.
Catholic Advocate has also launched the website www.ProtectOurConscience.org, which provides resources for Catholics who want to speak out against the final HHS rule. The organization reports that at least one parish in each congressional district in every U.S. state has produced letters to Congress through the program.
“Some are trying hard to make this about a different issue,” Smith said. “Make no mistake, when those in power try to rip through the fabric of what America stands for, the voices of the people unite.”
In October, Catholic Advocate released a video “Common Ground,” which called on President Obama to live up to the promises he made at Notre Dame.
The new Department of Health and Human Services rule presently requires all employers’ new health plans to cover FDA-approved sterilization and contraception, including drugs that can cause abortions. The rule currently allows a narrow religious exemption that does not cover most Catholic universities, health care systems and charities.
It also establishes a one-year period for religious employers to bring their insurance plans into compliance.
The Obama administration has proposed mandating that insurance companies, not religious employers, provide the coverage. Critics have said the move is an “accounting trick” that does not address conscientious objections.