“The facts ma’am. Just the facts.” Those of you who remember the 1950’s TV show, Dragnet, remember Sgt. Joe Friday saying those words week after week. In the vice-presidential debate, the Democratic candidate said:
“With regard to the assault on the Catholic Church, let me make it absolutely clear. No religious institution – Catholic or otherwise, including Catholic social services, Georgetown Hospital, Mercy Hospital, any hospital - none has to either refer contraception, none has to pay for contraception, none has to be a vehicle to get contraception in any insurance policy they provide. That is a fact. That is a fact.”
Actually that is not a fact. The facts are these: Catholic institutions ranging from dioceses to Catholic Charities to Catholic hospitals – and non-Catholic institutions as well – are being forced to provide such coverage for their employees. When a company or institution like many dioceses are self- insured, it is being forced to pay for those services directly.
Those are the facts relating to the HHS legislation, and is the reason the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops are against this part of the HHS initiative. It’s also the reason why so many suits have been brought into the courts by dioceses, hospitals, and individual companies.
Let us pray that healthcare may be improved, made more affordable and more available to all. However, pray that that part of the HHS which violates freedom of religion and freedom of conscience may be eliminated.
- Fr. Carl