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Religious liberty advocates criticize HHS mandate’s final rules; bishops pledge statement

Catholic World News - July 01, 2013

Two non-profit legal organizations that have challenged the HHS mandate in court issued separate statements criticizing the Obama administration’s final rules for implementing the mandate.

“The final rule fails to fix the HHS employer mandate’s fundamental problems,” stated the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty. “Non-profit religious employers are still dragooned into acting as gatekeepers to abortion. Self-insured religious groups must hire administrators that pay for abortifacients and contraceptives. Religious business owners still have to provide abortion-inducing drugs or pay up to millions of dollars in fines.”

“The Obama administration insists on waging war on religious freedom, and the final rule issued today confirms that,” added the Alliance for Defending Freedom. “It ignores the voices of numerous Americans who expressed concern about the mandate’s impact on for-profit, faith-based job creators. And it does nothing to alleviate the concerns of the non-profit religious organizations we represent, who are still subject to the mandate. On multiple levels, the president is articulating what is arguably the most narrow view of religious freedom ever expressed by an administration in this nation’s history.”

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops pledged to issue a statement once its analysis of the final rules is complete.

“We have received and started to review the 110-page final rule on the HHS mandate,” said Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the president of the bishops’ conference. “We appreciate the extension of the effective date by five months, which is readily apparent in the rule.”

“The remainder of the rule is long and complex,” he added. “It will require more careful analysis. We will provide a fuller statement when that analysis is complete.”

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