Pittsburgh Catholic Bishop David Zubik Friday joined a growing segment of religious leaders speaking out against the Obama administration’s new law that requires religious employers to offer health plans covering free contraceptives.
In an open letter titled "To Hell With You," Zubik today characterized some of the mandates in the administration’s Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act as a "slap in the face" and an attack on religious freedom.
Zubik specifcally refers to guidelines that require all individual and group health insurance plans, including self-insured plans, to cover FDA-approved contraception, sterilization procedures and pharmaceuticals "that even result in abortion," Zubik writes.
The church opposes contraception and pharmaceuticals such as the "morning-after" pill.
Practically speaking under the proposed mandate there would be no “religious exemption” for Catholic hospitals universities, colleges, nursing homes and numerous Catholic social service agencies such as Catholic Charities. It could easily be determined that the “religious exemption” would not apply as well to Catholic high schools, elementary schools and Catholic parishes since many employ non-Catholics and serve both students and, through social outreach, many who do not share Catholic religious beliefs. Such a narrow “religious exemption” is simply unprecedented in federal law.
Zubik's letter urges Catholics to contact their local political leaders and lists several names and numbers for the White House, Pennsylvania Congressmen and Senators.
What do you think about the new mandates in the health plan? Tell us in the comments.