Washington D.C., Jun 15, 2012 / 16:12 pm
In a call for broader religious exemptions, the Catholic Health Association has backtracked from its initial support for the Obama administration's compromise on a rule that mandates employer coverage of contraception and sterilization.
The association said it is "imperative" that the administration abandon its "narrow" definition of religious employer and exempt not only churches but also Catholic hospitals, health care organizations and other Church ministries.
It said it is "deeply concerned" by the administration's approach to "contraceptive services, especially abortifacient drugs and sterilization."
The Catholic Health Association represents over 600 hospitals and 1,400 other health facilities in all 50 U.S. states. It is the largest group of nonprofit health care providers in the U.S.
The June 15 letter from CHA president and CEO Sister Carol Keehan and other association board members addressed the Department of Health and Human Services about the proposed rulemaking to implement the Obama administration's intended accommodation announced on Feb. 10.