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WFF Urges support of Respect for Rights of Conscience Act

UPDATE. January 31, 2012

On January 20, 2012, the US Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, on behalf of President Obama’s Administration, announced that all religious institutions that either employ or serve people who are not members of their particular religious group will be compelled to provide so-called “preventive services for women” (i.e., contraceptives, inclluding abortifacients, and sterilization) without cost, under the health care plan, PPACA.

This mandate includes all Catholic hospitals and charities, as well as any Catholic organization with an outreach to, or who might employ anyone who is not a Catholic. All such religious groups must comply with this mandate by August 2013.

Thus our statement in support of the Respect for Rights of Conscience Act (below), originally released on September 26, 2011, acquires greater urgency, and we renew this statement today.

We also strongly encourage your participation in this effort to protect religious liberty and freedom of conscience for all religious believers. Go to the US Conference of Catholic Bishops web site for important information and links:

September 26, 2011

Dear Member of Congress,

Women for Faith & Family, representing about 50,000 Catholic women in the United States urge your support for the Respect for Rights of Conscience Act (H.R. 1179, S. 1467), which addresses a serious flaw in Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) regarding lack of conscience rights.

The Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) list of “preventive services for women” to be required in almost all private health plans nationwide, under the authority of the PPACA, includes, for example, a mandate for contraception/sterilization coverage with an unacceptably narrow exemption for “religious employers”, which protects almost no one.

The Respect for Rights of Conscience Act is crucial to bringing PPACA into line with the federal government’s long legal tradition of respect for the rights of conscience. It would change no current state or federal mandate for health coverage, but would prevent any new mandates under PPACA (such as HHS’s new set of “preventive services for women”) from being used to disregard the freedom of conscience that Americans now enjoy.

Helen Hull Hitchcock
Director, Women for Faith & Family
Ph 314 863-8385 – E-mail: [email protected]

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