The Obama administration announced last week that they would modify the contraception mandate of ObamaCare to allow religious institutions to provide health insurance coverage that doesn't include birth control--sort of. While religious nonprofits will not have to directly offer coverage that includes contraception, the law will still automatically provide free birth-control coverage for women employed by religious groups through a third-party issuer.
"We are extremely disappointed with today's announcement," Kyle Duncan, one of the attorneys representing christian-owned retail chain Hobby Lobby, said to the Tulsa World. The chain has challenged the Affordable Care Act requirements in federal court. "We remain committed to protecting religious liberty until the administration recognizes the conscience rights of all Americans."
The most vocal critic of the HHS mandate and this 'accommodation' has been New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan and the U.S. conference of Catholic Bishops.
"Because the stakes are so high, we will not cease from our effort to assure that healthcare for all does not mean freedom for few," Dolan said in a statement rejecting three-fourths of the mandate change. "Throughout the past year, we have been assured by the Administration that we will not have to refer, pay for, or negotiate for the mandated coverage."
A statement from the Conference of Bishops this Friday says the HHS proposal to change the mandate falls short in meeting the Church's concerns.
Cardinal Dolan highlighted problems with the proposed "accommodation."
"It appears that the government would require all employees in our 'accommodated' ministries to have the illicit coverage—they may not opt out, nor even opt out for their children—under a separate policy," he said.
He also noted that "because of gaps in the proposed regulations, it is still unclear how directly these separate policies would be funded by objecting ministries, and what precise role those ministries would have in arranging for these separate policies. Thus, there remains the possibility that ministries may yet be forced to fund and facilitate such morally illicit activities."
Cardinal Dolan also said the proposal refuses to acknowledge conscience rights of business owners who operate their businesses according to their faith and moral values.
"In obedience to our Judeo-Christian heritage, we have consistently taught our people to live their lives during the week to reflect the same beliefs that they proclaim on the Sabbath," Cardinal Dolan said. "We cannot now abandon them to be forced to violate their morally well-informed consciences."
On 'Real News' Friday the panel reviewed the modifications to the contraception mandate and analyzed the Catholic Bishops' concerns. How long could this lawsuit drag out? Is there any compromise on this when it comes to religious liberty? Watch a clip from 'Real News' on TheBlaze TV below with Rev. Robert Sirico, President of the Acton Institute: