Bishops Reiterate That Mandate Recommendations Are ‘Radically Flawed’


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ABSTRACTBishops Reiterate That Mandate Recommendations Are ‘Radically Flawed’ | Daily News | NCRegister.com Print Edition:  April 8, 2012   Donate Archives Blogs Store Resources Advertise Jobs Radio Subscribe Make This My Homepage Resources Christmas Music Arts & Entertainment Books Commentary Culture of Life Education In Person News Opinion Sunday Guides Travel Vatican Dan Burke Edward Pentin Mark Shea Matthew Warner Jimmy Akin Matt & Pat Archbold Simcha Fisher Tito Edwards Jennifer Fulwiler Steven D. Greydanus Tim Drake Tom Wehner Our Latest Show About the Show About the Register Donate Subscribe Stations Schedule Other EWTN Shows Advertising Overview Editorial Calendar Order Web Ad Order Print Ad Print Article | Email Article | Write To Us Daily News Daily News Bishops Reiterate That Mandate Recommendations Are ‘Radically Flawed’ (821) A new USCCB memo states that 'protecting a religious organization from being forced to act in conflict with its teaching by depriving it of the ability to act at all is no way to serve religious freedom.' Share by EWTN NEWS/CNA 04/04/2012 Comments (3) The U.S. bishops said that the government’s latest recommendations on its federal contraception mandate fail to address religious-freedom concerns. In a March 29 memo, they said the mandate “still forces us to act against our conscience and teaching” and that the only real solution is to allow individuals and institutions to offer insurance plans that align with their moral convictions. No matter what mechanisms are chosen to fund and administrate the mandate, religious individuals and institutions will be prohibited from providing health coverage that is “consistent with their values,” the bishops explained. In the memo, the bishops commented on the latest development in an ongoing controversy surrounding a federal mandate that will require employers to provide health insurance plans that cover contraception, sterilization and abortion-inducing drugs, even if doing so violates their conscience. The mandate, announced on Jan. 20, has come under fire from numerous groups and individuals for infringing upon the religious freedom of those who object to such coverage. A new advance notice of proposed rulemaking published by the Obama administration on March 21 outlines various recommendations for different ways to implement the mandate as it will apply to religious organizations that oppose the required coverage. The administration has requested public comment on the proposals until June 19. The bishops acknowledged that the “tentative and complex” proposals are very detailed and “demand further study.” However, they said that their initial analysis suggests that they “are still faced with the same fundamental issues” identified in their previous statement, “United for Religious Freedom.” The proposals offered by the administration highlight several possible approaches to having a “third-party administrator” assume responsibility for the controversial coverage. The suggestions included the use of funds from drug rebates, credit from a reinsurance program, aid from nonprofit organizations and government contracts with insurers offering a multi-state plan. However, the bishops cautioned that these proposals do nothing to change the administration’s narrow “test for deciding which organizations are ‘religious enough’ to warrant an exemption from the mandate.” Instead, the new recommendations deal with religious organizations that do not qualify for the exemption and are therefore subject to the mandate. The bishops reaffirmed their stance that “the government has no place defining religion and religious ministry” and that the current attempt to do so is unconstitutional. “So no matter what new rules may be proposed to apply this distinction, it remains radically flawed,” they said. Rather than merely granting limited religious freedom under certain circumstances, the federal government must respect the fullness of religious liberty for both individuals and institutions, they insisted. The bishops warned that the mandate “now poses a threat to the rights not only of religious employers, but of parents as well.” They noted that while the administration has claimed to promote women’s choice, the new recommendations leave women with no choice over whether their minor children will be offered “free” and “private” contraception and related “education and counseling.” The suggested provisions even allow for the possibility of groups such as Planned Parenthood to take on the task of intervening into family .......