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-Catholic Bishops Contest Biden’s Debate Claim on HHS Mandate and Freedom of Religion

by Dr. D ~ October 13th, 2012

During Thursday’s debate between Vice President Joe Biden and Republican contender Paul Ryan, the VP defended the administration against claims that the government was forcing Catholic organizations to violate their beliefs with the enforcement of the controversial HHS contraception mandate.

Today, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) fact-checked and contested VP Biden’s statement and issued an official statement of their own entitled:

“USCCB Responds To Inaccurate Statement Of Fact On HHS Mandate Made During Vice Presidential Debate”

October 12, 2012

WASHINGTON—The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) issued the following statement, October 12. Full text follows:

Last night, the following statement was made during the Vice Presidential debate regarding the decision of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to force virtually all employers to include sterilization and contraception, including drugs that may cause abortion, in the health insurance coverage they provide their employees:

"With regard to the assault on the Catholic Church, let me make it absolutely clear. No religious institution—Catholic or otherwise, including Catholic social services, Georgetown hospital, Mercy hospital, any hospital—none has to either refer contraception, none has to pay for contraception, none has to be a vehicle to get contraception in any insurance policy they provide. That is a fact. That is a fact."

This is not a fact. The HHS mandate contains a narrow, four-part exemption for certain "religious employers." That exemption was made final in February and does not extend to "Catholic social services, Georgetown hospital, Mercy hospital, any hospital," or any other religious charity that offers its services to all, regardless of the faith of those served.

HHS has proposed an additional "accommodation" for religious organizations like these, which HHS itself describes as "non-exempt." That proposal does not even potentially relieve these organizations from the obligation "to pay for contraception" and "to be a vehicle to get contraception." They will have to serve as a vehicle, because they will still be forced to provide their employees with health coverage, and that coverage will still have to include sterilization, contraception, and abortifacients. They will have to pay for these things, because the premiums that the organizations (and their employees) are required to pay will still be applied, along with other funds, to cover the cost of these drugs and surgeries.

USCCB continues to urge HHS, in the strongest possible terms, actually to eliminate the various infringements on religious freedom imposed by the mandate.

For more details, please see USCCB’s regulatory comments filed on May 15 regarding the proposed "accommodation": www.usccb.org/about/general-counsel/rulemaking/upload/comments-on-advance-notice-of-proposed-rulemaking-on-preventive-services-12-05-15.pdf

Response: Is the Vice President ill-informed on his own administration’s HHS mandate, which is an actual infringement on religious liberty, or is he deliberately trying to deceive the electorate and muddy the water on this issue? Either way it does not change the fact that this administration is bringing on the greatest challenges ever to our freedoms of religion and conscience in this country.

It is good to see the Bishops ‘fact-checking’ his statement and calling him out on it since the mainstream media seems rather slow to expose any facts that might be detrimental to President Obama’s re-election.            *Top

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1 Response to -Catholic Bishops Contest Biden’s Debate Claim on HHS Mandate and Freedom of Religion

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