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On Friday (Aug.22) the Obama administration issued new procedures (the 8th set of rules) for fulfilling their HHS Contraceptive and Abortifacient Mandate. However, the Baptists and the Catholic Bishops have already found the latest revision to be inadequate for maintaining religious freedom.
Here’s the story from the Baptist Press:
In a fact sheet accompanying the new regulations, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) said the rules provide a new option for notification by non-profit religious organizations that object to the mandate. The non-profit may notify HHS in writing of its religious objection. In response, the federal government will notify the insurer or a third-party administrator it is responsible for providing employees of the non-profit with payments to cover the services. …
The Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) was among the organizations that found the latest HHS revision unsatisfactory.
"Here we go again," ERLC President Russell D. Moore said in a written statement. "What we see here is another revised attempt to settle issues of religious conscience with accounting maneuvers. This new policy doesn’t get at the primary problem. The administration is setting itself up as a mediator between God and the conscience on the question of the taking of innocent human life."
Here’s a reaction to the change from the Catholic bishops:
Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Ky., president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, said, in a statement posted on the USCCB Facebook page, the bishops would study the rules in depth but were disappointed at first look.
Kurtz said “the regulations would not broaden the ‘religious employer’ exemption to encompass all employers with sincerely held religious objections to the mandate. Instead, the regulations would only modify the ‘accommodation,’ under which the mandate still applies and still requires provision of the objectionable coverage.”
Response: The ‘new rules’ are really only an accounting dodge and still require organizations and employers who object to abortifacients to be ‘defacto’ agents in the process. After all, who is really initiating the insurance coverage in the first place and paying for the extended coverage?
The new procedure merely puts the government in the middle as the agent to contact and force insurance companies to provide the objectionable additional coverage ‘for free.’ In reality, insurance companies cannot be expected to pickup the tab without increasing their premiums to every one of their customers including the objecting parties in order to cover the additional costs.
Meanwhile the 102 lawsuits against the HHS Mandate continue to work their way through the federal court system. The newest revision will probably not affect them in any way. *Top