Stacy Molai, a Catholic missionary, feels so strongly that the HHS contraceptives mandate would cause her to violate her religious beliefs that she is willing to put her own health on the line to uphold what she feels is right.
With similar sentiments to that of a hunger strike, Molai told The Revered Review that she would opt out of receiving health care if the mandate held. Since Molai suffers from Crohn's disease, such a move away from health insurance could lead to her own financial demise and even result in a life-threatening situation.
The Revered Review reports that Molai, 31, was diagnosed with Crohn's at 13, takes several medications a day and had four surgeries just last month. But Molai said she is willing to risk it all if the mandate, which she believes violates religious freedom, is not overturned:
The Revered Review asked: “So you are willing to risk your health, and possibly your life, and face financial ruin? And, if the HHS mandate is not overturned, you are willing to face even more fines, and whatever consequences the government will impose on those who are uninsured?”
“I am,” she responded.
Molai, an RN who works for the Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS), said it could be "life-threatening" for her to go without health coverage but she said she "cannot go against [her] conscience" in being "forced to pay for those things." She said she believes the controversy over the mandate is being twisted to seem like it's against contraception as a whole:
“Many people think the debate is about Catholics trying to prevent contraception,” she said. It is not. “It’s against the Constitution to force us to pay for those things,” she said.
“We are trading an inalienable right for free contraception,” she said.
Molai told The Reverend Review that she hopes her decision to give up insurance, even with the risks it poses to her health, will show others the serious nature of this topic. FOCUS Director of Communications Jeremy Rivera shared these sentiments:
“FOCUS is proud to have a woman like Stacy among our missionary staff. As her employer, we stand in solidarity with her and her convictions to remain true to her conscience and to exercise her religious liberty in the face of the government’s proposed HHS mandate. Given the reality of Stacy’s serious health issues, her courage should inspire all Catholics and people of faith to reinforce the necessity to overturn this unjust regulation.”
Earlier this month, Catholic News Agency reported Molai's story and stated she is one of two private citizens to join seven states and several organizations in a lawsuit against the mandate. CNA also states that Molai's decision to not take health insurance coverage would "violate the 'individual mandate' that requires every individual to have insurance under the new health care law, which could result in her being jailed."
Molai's conviction poses an interesting question though: If you believed the mandate violated your religious beliefs, would you give up health coverage completely in order to uphold them?