Catholic World News

Senate may soon vote on bill that would curtail religious freedom in response to Hobby Lobby decision

July 15, 2014

Cardinal Seán O’Malley, the chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities, and Archbishop William Lori, the chairman of the conference’s Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty, are urging senators to oppose the “Protect Women’s Health From Corporate Interference Act of 2014” (S. 2578).

The bill, sponsored by Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) and currently cosponsored by 42 other senators, “potentially attack[s] all existing federal protections of conscience and religious freedom regarding health coverage mandates,” the prelates wrote in a July 14 letter.

They added, “As a broad, interfaith coalition of religious leaders recently explained: ‘Congress has never passed legislation with the specific purpose of reducing Americans’ religious freedom. It should not consider doing so now.’ That is especially true of this bill.”

The National Committee for a Human Life Amendment, which works closely with the USCCB, explained:

On June 30, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores that the HHS contraceptive mandate cannot be used to force a family business to provide coverage for drugs and devices that violates the family members' religious convictions. The Court relied on the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), passed overwhelmingly by Congress and signed by President Clinton in 1993. Legal challenges by non-profit religious groups are still pending.

Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) has introduced a bill (S. 2578) that would not only reverse Hobby Lobby, but go far beyond that decision. It negates any right that employers, insurers or employees may have, under RFRA or any other federal law, to opt out of federally mandated coverage. The U.S. Senate may vote in the next few days on this anti-conscience bill. Please contact your Senators today!

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  • Posted by: Bveritas2322 - Jul. 16, 2014 9:41 PM ET USA

    The bishops have been demonizing the economically successful for so long, I doubt they have the capacity to respect economic freedom and recognize that even secular members of the private sector have a right to determine the terms of their own private contracts.

  • Posted by: TheJournalist64 - Jul. 15, 2014 7:10 PM ET USA

    Let's suppose the pork lobby was in control of as many senators as Planned Parenthood is. Suppose they presented a bunch of bogus science showing that pork extends life expectancy, was good for the economy, and the Congress in the dead of night passed a bill requiring all employers to serve pork in their cafeterias. . .