Joe Biden, Please Report to the Confessional!

The U.S. Bishops are calling attention to “an inaccurate statement of fact” made during the VP debate last night. I am not sure why the Bishops’ statement does not include the fact that it was Joe Biden who stated this untruth. But, in plain English, Joe Biden LIED! Contrary to what Biden said, this mandate will INDEED force the Catholic social Institutions to fund birth control, including abortions. The Bishops have said they will not comply. This means that schools, hospitals and charities will have to pay penalties associated with noncompliance. These institutions will not be able to afford the fines and they will eventually close.

In all the media post-debate analysis, this tidbit has not gotten nearly enough consideration. I think the media is deliberately ignoring the unprecedented groundswell in the Catholic community. It will be interesting to watch this play out. The Catholic vote went for Obama in 2008, but 2012 is looking quite differently.

USCCB Responds To Inaccurate Statement Of Fact On HHS Mandate Made During Vice Presidential Debate

October 12, 2012

WASHINGTON—The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) issued the following statement, October 12. Full text follows:

Last night, the following statement was made during the Vice Presidential debate regarding the decision of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to force virtually all employers to include sterilization and contraception, including drugs that may cause abortion, in the health insurance coverage they provide their employees:

“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.”

This is not a fact. The HHS mandate contains a narrow, four-part exemption for certain “religious employers.” That exemption was made final in February and does not extend to “Catholic social services, Georgetown hospital, Mercy hospital, any hospital,” or any other religious charity that offers its services to all, regardless of the faith of those served.

HHS has proposed an additional “accommodation” for religious organizations like these, which HHS itself describes as “non-exempt.” That proposal does not even potentially relieve these organizations from the obligation “to pay for contraception” and “to be a vehicle to get contraception.” They will have to serve as a vehicle, because they will still be forced to provide their employees with health coverage, and that coverage will still have to include sterilization, contraception, and abortifacients. They will have to pay for these things, because the premiums that the organizations (and their employees) are required to pay will still be applied, along with other funds, to cover the cost of these drugs and surgeries.

USCCB continues to urge HHS, in the strongest possible terms, actually to eliminate the various infringements on religious freedom imposed by the mandate.

For more details, please see USCCB’s regulatory comments filed on May 15 regarding the proposed “accommodation”: www.usccb.org/about/general-counsel/rulemaking/upload/comments-on-advance-notice-of-proposed-rulemaking-on-preventive-services-12-05-15.pdf

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