Obama’s healthcare developments violate conscience rights

As part of President Obama’s healthcare overhaul, come August 2012, all American private insurers must provide women with coverage for FDA-approved contraception – including sterilisation and “emergency” contraceptives that have an abortifacient effect.

The plan also covers breast pumps for nursing mothers, an annual “well woman” physical, counseling on how to avoid sexually transmitted diseases and other services at no cost to the patient.

With lower costs associated with unwanted pregnancies and the treatment of STD’s, supporters of the plan say that it will bring costs down

Groups such as Planned Parenthood label the move as a breakthrough for women’s health.

“It’s very exciting for us that women will get their birth control and not have to come up with a $5, $10 or $50 co-pay,” said Carolyn Moore, a nurse practioner at Planned Parenthood.

The Catholic Church strongly opposes the move.

“We absolutely oppose it. It violates the conscious protection rights that President Obama promised he wouldn’t violate with the health care laws,” said Paul Simoneau with the Catholic Diocese of Knoxville.

“Catholics are not alone in conscientiously objecting to this mandate,” said Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, chairman of the USCCB Committee on Pro-Life Activities.

DiNardo said the pro-life majority of Americans, will be outraged to learn they will be forced to subsidise the likes of emergency contraceptives that act like the abortion drug RU-486 that aborts an established pregnancy weeks after conception.

“Although this new rule gives the agency the discretion to authorise a ‘religious’ exemption, it is so narrow as to exclude most Catholic social service agencies and healthcare providers,” he added.

In a July 22 letter to Congress, the cardinal stated that “those who sponsor, purchase and issue health plans should not be forced to violate their deeply held moral and religious convictions in order to take part in the health care system or provide for the needs of their families or their employees.”

“To force such an unacceptable choice,” he wrote,”would be as much a threat to universal access to health care as it is to freedom of conscience.”

Patrick J. Reilly, president of the Cardinal Newman Society. He said that the guidelines “would force Catholic colleges to violate the law or violate the Catholic faith.”

Colleges may be forced to help students and employees obtain free contraceptives and sterilization, he added.

Jeanne Monahan, director of the Family Research Council’s Center for Human Dignity, labelled the conscience protections as merely “fig leaf”.

“This administration is promoting mandates that will violate the consciences of millions,” she said



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