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Cardinal blasts proposal for mandatory sterilization, birth control coverage

Catholic World News - July 20, 2011

Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston has denounced the Institute of Medicine’s recommendation that the federal government require all private insurers to provide coverage for birth control and sterilization, without any co-payments on the part of the insured.

“I strongly oppose the Institute of Medicine's recommendation today that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) mandate coverage of three particular practices in almost all private health plans: surgical sterilization; all FDA-approved birth control (including the IUD, ‘morning-after’ pills, and the abortion-inducing drug Ella); and ‘education and counseling’ promoting these among all ‘women of reproductive capacity,’” said the chairman of the Committee on Pro-Life Activities of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

“Pregnancy is not a disease, and fertility is not a pathological condition to be suppressed by any means technically possible,” the cardinal added. “The IOM report claims it would have good reason to recommend mandatory coverage for surgical abortions as well, if such a mandate were not prevented by law. But most Americans surely see that abortion is not healthy or therapeutic for unborn children, and has physical and mental health risks for women which can be extremely serious.”

“The single largest abortion provider in the United States, Planned Parenthood, is celebrating the IOM's report,” he continued. “If the HHS does likewise and implements its recommendations, these controversial practices will be mandated for all insurance plans – public and private – without co-pay from anyone receiving them. The considerable cost of these practices will be paid by all who participate in health coverage, employers and employees alike, including those who conscientiously object to Planned Parenthood's agenda.”

“Without sufficient legal protection for rights of conscience, such a mandate would force all men, women and children to carry health coverage that violates the deeply-held moral and religious convictions of many,” Cardinal DiNardo said. “This new threat to conscience makes it especially critical for Congress to pass the ‘Respect for Rights of Conscience Act’ introduced by Reps. Jeff Fortenberry and Dan Boren (HR 1179).”

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