The Obama administration said on Tuesday that they are considering a regulation that would compel Catholic institutions to act against their teachings by requiring all health care plans to cover sterilizations and all FDA-approved contraceptives, including drugs known as abortifacients.
Health and Human Service Secretary Kathleen Sebelius proposed a regulation in August that would implement the proposed changes next fall. Although there is a religious exemption clause in the rule changes, it does not include Catholic hospitals, charitable institutions or universities.
When the White House pushed through their health care plan last year one of the major changes was that all individuals must purchase health insurance and the “preventive services” part would mean that individual Catholics would be forced to buy coverage that pays for sterilizations and abortions – both of which violate Catholic teachings.
Also, Catholic business owners and institutions would be required to choose between violating the teachings of their faith or purchasing the insurance.
NARAL, a pro-abortion organization, issued a statement last week asking the Obama administration to “stand strong” in support of contraceptives such as the morning-after pill for women.
“We believe all women should have access to contraceptive coverage, regardless of where they work,” said Laura Thibault, interim executive director of NARAL in New Hampshire. “The Obama administration must stand firm against anti-birth-control organizations that want to deny women the ability to make the health-care decisions that are best for them and their families.”
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops said the proposed regulations were an “unprecedented attack on religious liberty.”
“Indeed, such nationwide government coercion of religious people and groups to sell, broker, or purchase ‘services’ to which they have a moral or religious objection represents an unprecedented attack on religious liberty,” the bishops wrote in their comments to the proposed regulation.
A reporter from ABC News asked White House Press Secretary Jay Carney on Tuesday if he had received a request from Democrat lawmakers to make sure the contraceptives were included in the regulation.
Carney said the White House was trying to strike a balance on the issue and that the president is trying to get as much input as possible before Health and Human Services announces the guidelines.
“The President has – this decision has not yet been made,” said Carney.
The Christian Post attempted to contact Health and Human Services but did not receive a return call prior to publication.