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Cardinal urges Senate to pass bill protecting conscience


NANCY FRAZIER O'BRIEN

Source:
Catholic News Service
Type:
Media/Opinion
Date:
2/15/2012

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ABSTRACTCNS STORY: Cardinal urges Senate to pass bill protecting conscience in health care Home    |    About Us    |    Contacts    |    Products        News Items   Top Stories   News Briefs   Vatican   Origins   Africa   Headlines   Also Featuring   Movie Reviews   Sunday Scripture   CNS Blog   Links to Clients   Major Events   2008 papal visit   World Youth Day   John Paul II   For Clients   Client Login   CNS Insider   We're also on ...   Facebook   Twitter   RSS Feeds   Top Stories   Vatican   Movie Reviews   CNS Blog .   For More Info  If you would like  more information  about Catholic  News Service,  please contact  CNS at one of  the following:  cns@  catholicnews.com  or  (202) 541-3250 .   Copyright  This material  may not  be published,  broadcast,  rewritten or  otherwise  distributed,  except by  linking to  a page on  this site. .   CNS Story: HHS-DINARDO Feb-15-2012 (730 words) With photo. xxxn Cardinal urges Senate to pass bill protecting conscience in health care By Nancy Frazier O'Brien Catholic News Service WASHINGTON (CNS) -- The chairman of the U.S. bishops' Committee on Pro-Life Activities called on members of the U.S. Senate Feb. 15 to solve conscience protection problems with the federal health reform law by passing the Respect for Rights of Conscience Act. By resolving a "needless dispute," Congress and the Obama administration "could return to the most pressing of all the real problems -- the fact that many millions of Americans still lack basic coverage for health care," said Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston. In a three-page letter to senators, Cardinal DiNardo said the legislation -- which now has 37 sponsors in the Senate -- might come up for a vote soon, "either as a free-standing bill or an amendment." Calling the bill "needed, reasonable and carefully crafted," he said it "simply ensures that new requirements" under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act "are not used to take away a freedom of conscience that Americans have enjoyed under federal law until now." The bishops "saw the need for this legislation," the cardinal said, when Congress passed health care reform and "authorized new lists of federally mandated benefits for all health plans without including language to preserve rights of conscience." The cardinal rejected the final rule announced Feb. 10 by President Barack Obama that would allow organizations with religious objections to the Department of Health and Human Services' requirement that all health insurance plans cover contraceptives and sterilization to decline to cover them, but then compel the insurers to provide contraceptives free of charge to women they insure. Under that plan, religious employers will be required to "i.......