Sioux Falls, S.D., Mar 21, 2013 / 01:03 am
The bishop of a South Dakota diocese has spoken out after a Catholic health care provider made the decision to comply with the federal contraception mandate without seeking diocesan counsel or authorization.
Jerry Klein, delegate for social outreach for the Diocese of Sioux Falls, told CNA on March 19 that "there is a continued dialogue between the diocese and Avera" Catholic health care systems, but that a response from the health care provider is "not anticipated."
Avera, a regional health network in South Dakota operated by the Benedictine and Presentation sisters, runs more than 100 hospitals, clinics and nursing homes throughout the area.
On March 1, Bishop Paul J. Swain of Sioux Falls wrote a letter to the clergy of the diocese notifying them that Avera had decided to change its policies to conform with a federal mandate requiring health insurance plans to offer free coverage of contraception, sterilization and early abortion-inducing drugs.