Bishops Vow to Fight Coercive HHS Mandate Urge Catholics and others of good will to fight this unprecedented attack on conscience rights and religious liberty
The federal Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has issued a rule forcing nearly all private health plans to include coverage for sterilization, abortifacients and all FDA-approved prescription contraceptive drugs and devices. These are listed among "preventive services for women" that all health plans will have to cover without co-pays or other cost-sharing -- regardless of whether the insurer, the employer or other plan sponsor objects to such coverage. The Administration has refused to recognize the Constitutional conscience rights of organizations and individuals who oppose the mandate.
Video: Archbishop Wenski Discusses the HHS Mandate
Florida Bishops on HHS Mandate
"The administration continues to insist that the issue is about contraception; we disagree. It is about the first freedom of our Bill of Rights: the freedom of religion and respect for the rights of conscience."
"First, as a community of faith we must commit ourselves to prayer and fasting that wisdom and justice may prevail, and religious liberty may be restored. Without God, we can do nothing; with God, nothing is impossible."
"For the Diocese of St. Petersburg, however, it falls far short of a "fix." We are self-insured with an Administrator managing our program...It still appears that the Diocese would be required since it acts as a health care insurance provider to provide the coverage..."
"People of faith cannot be made second class citizens. We are already joined by our brothers and sisters of all faiths and many others of good will in this important effort to regain our religious freedom."