The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced last month that almost all employers, including Catholic employers, will be forced to offer their employees' health coverage that includes sterilization, abortion-inducing drugs and contraception. Almost all health insurers will be forced to include those "services" in the policies they write. And almost all individuals will be forced to buy that coverage as a part of their policies.
In so ruling, the administration has cast aside the First Amendment to the Constitution, denying to all our nation's first and most fundamental freedom, that of religious liberty. Unless the rule is overturned, we Catholics will be compelled either to violate our consciences or drop health coverage for our employees (and suffer the penalties for doing so). The administration's sole concession was to give our institutions one year to comply.
I stand in unity with Catholic bishops throughout the United States and other religious leaders vowing to fight this mandate. I will work with the bishops, other religious leaders and our fellow Americans to remove this unjust regulation.
If the administration will not rescind this violation of our First Amendment rights, we must call on our elected leaders to do so. I ask everyone who believes in the freedom of religion to go to www.usccb.org/conscience to learn more about this severe assault on religious liberty and how to contact our elected representatives to seek a just resolution of this issue.
Most Rev. Robert E. Guglielmone
Bishop of Charleston