In the statement released today, Center Director O. Carter Snead joins legal experts and Catholic Leaders in rejecting the Obama Administration's supposed compromise regarding the contraception mandate. The full text of their statement is included below.
The Obama administration has offered what it has styled as an “accommodation” for religious institutions in the dispute over the HHS mandate for coverage (without cost sharing) of abortion-inducing drugs, sterilization, and contraception. The administration will now require that all insurance plans cover (“cost free”) these same products and services. Once a religiously-affiliated (or believing individual) employer purchases insurance (as it must, by law), the insurance company will then contact the insured employees to advise them that the terms of the policy include coverage for these objectionable things.
This so-called “accommodation” changes nothing of moral substance and fails to remove the assault on religious liberty and the rights of conscience which gave rise to the controversy. It is certainly no compromise. The reason for the original bipartisan uproar was the administration’s insistence that religious employers, be they institutions or individuals, provide insurance that covered services they regard as gravely immoral and unjust. Under the new rule, the government still coerces religious institutions and individuals to purchase insurance policies that include the very same services.
It is no answer to respond that the religious employers are not “paying” for this aspect of the insurance coverage. For one thing, it is unrealistic to suggest that insurance companies will not pass the costs of these additional services on to the purchasers. More importantly, abortion-drugs, sterilizations, and contraceptives are a necessary feature of the policy purchased by the religious institution or believing individual. They will only be made available to those who are insured under such policy, by virtue of the terms of the policy.
It is morally obtuse for the administration to suggest (as it does) that this is a meaningful accommodation of religious liberty because the insurance company will be the one to inform the employee that she is entitled to the embryo-destroying “five day after pill” pursuant to the insurance contract purchased by the religious employer. It does not matter who explains the terms of the policy purchased by the religiously affiliated or observant employer. What matters is what services the policy covers.
The simple fact is that the Obama administration is compelling religious people and institutions who are employers to purchase a health insurance contract that provides abortion-inducing drugs, contraception, and sterilization. This is a grave violation of religious freedom and cannot stand. It is an insult to the intelligence of Catholics, Protestants, Eastern Orthodox Christians, Jews, Muslims, and other people of faith and conscience to imagine that they will accept an assault on their religious liberty if only it is covered up by a cheap accounting trick.
Finally, it bears noting that by sustaining the original narrow exemptions for churches, auxiliaries, and religious orders, the administration has effectively admitted that the new policy (like the old one) amounts to a grave infringement on religious liberty. The administration still fails to understand that institutions that employ and serve others of different or no faith are still engaged in a religious mission and, as such, enjoy the protections of the First Amendment.
Mary Ann Glendon
Robert P. George
O. Carter Snead
[Note: Affiliations provided for identification purposes only]
University and College Professors
Jean Bethke Elshtain
Michael W. McConnell
Thomas F. Farr
Richard W. Garnett
John B. Londregan
Patrick MacKinley Brennan
Mark C. Murphy
Harindra Joseph F. Fernando
William N. Evans
W. Cole Durham, Jr.
Lynn D. Wardle
Prof. Alan Mittleman
Rabbi Meir Y. Soloveichik
Russell D. Moore, Ph.D.
Michael Stokes Paulsen
David Lyle Jeffrey
Edward R. Dougherty
Director, Computational Biology Division
Timothy S. Fuerst
Gerard V. Bradley
Gabriel Said Reynolds
Vincent Phillip Muñoz
John F. Gaski
Duncan G. Stroik
Rev. Wilson D. Miscamble, C.S.C.
Bryan T. McGraw
Timothy Samuel Shah
Jacqueline M. Nolan-Haley
Rev. Thomas V. Berg
William S. Brewbaker III
William B. Hurlbut, M.D.
Micah J. Watson
V. Bradley Lewis
Francis J. Beckwith
Thomas A. Cavanaugh
C. Ben Mitchell, PhD
Gerald R. McDermott
Robert D. Benne
Thomas S. Kidd
John D. Woodbridge
Rev Prof D. A. Carson
University/College/Seminary Presidents, Deans, and Board Members
Stephen D. Minnis
Robert Bryan Sloan Jr
Sister Mary Sarah Galbraith, O.P.
R. Albert Mohler, Jr.
Dr. William K. Thierfelder
Carl E. Zylstra
Michael F. McLean
Samuel W. "Dub" Oliver, Ph.D.
H. James Towey
Bernard F. O’Connor
Father Terence Henry, TOR
William Edmund Fahey
Marianne Evans Mount
Kathryn Jean Lopez
Former Chancellor of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Bridgeport
Distinguished Senior Fellow and William E. Simon Chair in Catholic Studies, Ethics and Public Policy Center
Founder, Prison Fellowship Ministries
President, Ethics and Public Policy Center
George Frederick Jewett Scholar Emeritus in Religion, Philosophy and Public Policy, American Enterprise Institute
Board member, Ave Maria University
Evangelicals and Civic Life Program, Ethics and Public Policy Center
Brian W. Walsh
Executive Director, American Religious Freedom Program, Ethics and Public Policy Center
Senior Fellow and Director, Marriage & Religion Research Institute
Father Jonathan Morris
Author, Televison Analyst
Basilica of St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral, NYC
Institute for Marriage and Public Policy
Robert C. Odle, Jr.
Partner, Weil Gotshal and Manges
Senior Vice President and Senior Counsel, Americans United for Life
President, Americans United for Life
Nikolas T. Nikas
President and General Counsel, Bioethics Defense Fund
Dorinda C. Bordlee
VP, Chief Counsel, Bioethics Defense Fund
University of Notre Dame Fund to Protect Human Life
Matthew J. Franck
Director, William E. and Carol G. Simon Center on Religion and the Constitution,The Witherspoon Institute
Executive Director, The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty