Thursday, May 17, 2012

US Bishops Reject Proposed 'Compromise' on HHS Contraception Mandate

By Luiza Oleszczuk
Christian Post Reporter
May 16, 2012

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) said Tuesday in a statement issued to the Health and Human Services (HHS) that prospective changes in the contraception mandate, offered by the Obama administration as a form of compromise after a massive backlash, are still "morally objectionable."

The mandate, part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, requires employers – including most religious nonprofits such as hospitals and colleges (although not churches) – to provide health insurance that includes birth control for workers. The plan sparked protests from faith leaders and the public, and the Obama administration duly started working on a compromise in February, meant to "accommodate" religious institutions. Under the new rules, rather than requiring religiously affiliated charities and universities to pay for contraceptives, the cost would be shifted to health insurance companies, Obama said in February.

But after scrutinizing the proposed changes, titled the Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM), lawyers representing the USCCB said this week that religious employers and other stakeholders would still have their employee health insurance plans and premiums "used for services they find morally objectionable." The USSCB is the main Catholic Church body in the United States. the rest


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