Catholic woman would rather risk life than follow HHS mandate

Stacy Molai second from right with students Courtesy of FOCUS CNA500x315 US Catholic News 3 9 12 Stacy Molai (second from right) with some of the students she serves. Photo courtesy of FOCUS.

A missionary serving at a Nebraska college says she is willing to risk her finances, her health and even her life to avoid violating her conscience by adhering to the Obama administration’s contraception mandate.

“I’m putting my life on the line here for my faith,” said Stacy Molai, a 31-year-old missionary with the Fellowship of Catholic University Students. “It’s that big a deal.”

Molai is one of two private citizens who have joined seven states and several organizations in a lawsuit over the Obama administration’s contraception mandate. The federal rule will soon require employers to provide health insurance that covers contraception, sterilization and early abortion-causing drugs, even if doing so violates their deeply-held religious beliefs.

Molai told CNA on March 8 that she is “honored” to be standing up for her faith in a public way.

As a FOCUS missionary, she is stationed at the College of Saint Mary in Omaha, Neb., where she helps college students grow in their Catholic faith.

Now, she believes that her First Amendment rights are being violated by the mandate, which will force her to choose between the “law of God” and the “law of the government.”

“If I am forced to make the choice, I will adhere to my faith,” she said.

She explained that she does not want to give up her health care, but that she will “gladly” obey God rather than men.

For Molai, health insurance is not a luxury, but an essential means of paying for medical needs. She suffers from Crohn’s disease, an autoimmune disorder that has required her to have four surgeries and numerous hospitalizations. Medical supplies for her condition cost up to $400 per month.

In addition, she knows that she will eventually need treatments that cost up to $3,000 per month.

As a registered nurse with six years experience in both Catholic and non-Catholic settings, Molai knows that not having health insurance would put her at serious risk, both medically and financially.

“Honestly, I could die,” she said.

Molai also pointed out that dropping insurance coverage would violate the “individual mandate” that requires every individual to have insurance under the new health care law, which could result in her being jailed.

But Molai has “considered the consequences” and is willing to face them for the sake of “keeping a clear conscience” in her relationship with Christ.

She hopes her story will “wake people up” and make them reflect on the importance of making their faith the “core” of their identity.

“Religion is so much more than going to church on Sunday,” she explained.

“FOCUS is proud to have a woman like Stacy among our missionary staff,” said Jeremy Rivera, communications director of FOCUS, in a March 6 statement.

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“As her employer, we stand in solidarity with her and her convictions to remain true to her conscience and to exercise her religious liberty,” he said.

Rivera added that the “reality of Stacy’s serious health issues ... should inspire all Catholics and people of faith to reinforce the necessity to overturn this unjust law.”

Molai said that the support she has received from those around her has been “really encouraging.”

However, she does not believe she deserves any special credit or recognition.

When people applaud her courage, she tells them, “I’m just doing my job.”

She compares herself to the servant in Luke 17 who carries out the duty commanded by his master.

“I’m just practicing what I preach,” Molai said, explaining that she has tried to convey the message that witnessing for Christ means being willing “to suffer greatly, if necessary.”

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But despite the very real possibility of suffering in her future, Molai maintains a positive and joyful outlook that she attributes to having a real relationship with Christ.

“I’m full of joy to be able to show him that I trust him with my life,” she explained. 

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