Catholic leaders seek to rally HHS mandate opponents
As those efforts continue, advocates with Catholics for Choice noted that thousands have submitted comments to the Health and Human Services (HHS) Department in support of the mandate. The group filed its own 12-page statement on Tuesday, which cited a poll showing that a strong majority of Catholics believe private insurance plans should cover birth control. The comments also touched on an issue central to the debate — the difference in how supporters and objectors view moral choices.
“Religious freedom protections extend to one’s personal religious beliefs and practices, but they do not give individuals or entire institutions license to obstruct or coerce the exercise of another’s conscience,” Catholics for Choice wrote to HHS. “Rather than prioritizing … what institutions are granted exemptions, we ask that you prioritize the human impact of these exemptions and respect the consciences and religious freedom of all individual employees.”
Catholics for Choice recently criticized the “Fortnight for Freedom” effort as frivolous and unpopular after an assembly of U.S. bishops championed the effort during an assembly in Atlanta. The group also co-signed a letter with several other progressive Catholic groups that chided the bishops for their dogged focus on the birth-control mandate.
“Our views on many important issues often diverge with the views of the Catholic hierarchy in the United States,” the letter read. “Unfortunately, the bishops attempt to portray their views as representative of ours in public discourse. … They do not speak for us each and every time they lobby elected officials or attempt to influence public policy.”
Polls find that a vast majority of Catholic women use and support birth control, putting the church in an awkward position.
This article was originally published by The Hill’s Healthwatch.