Archbishop: new HHS mandate ‘accommodation’ will reduce religious freedom
August 25, 2014
Archbishop Joseph Kurtz, the president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, has offered an initial response to the Obama administration’s new interim final rules implementing the HHS mandate, which requires health insurance plans to cover contraception, sterilization, and abortifacients.
“On initial review of the government’s summary of the regulations, we note with disappointment that the regulations would not broaden the ‘religious employer’ exemption to encompass all employers with sincerely held religious objections to the mandate,” said Archbishop Kurtz. “Instead, the regulations would only modify the ‘accommodation,’ under which the mandate still applies and still requires provision of the objectionable coverage.”
“Also, by proposing to extend the ‘accommodation’ to the closely held for-profit employers that were wholly exempted by the Supreme Court’s recent decision in Hobby Lobby, the proposed regulations would effectively reduce, rather than expand, the scope of religious freedom,” he added.
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