Take action to support conscience rights Print
Written by Mary C. Uhler   
Thursday, Sep. 01, 2011 -- 12:00 AM

Editor's View by Mary C. Uhler

A new federal mandate on health care coverage is posing a threat to the religious freedom of  Church-affiliated employers, including Catholic hospitals, universities, and charitable institutions.

Health insurance plans are being required to provide reproductive services for women including contraceptives and sterilization procedures, as well as for drugs that may cause an abortion both before and after implantation.

Untenable position

John Garvey, president of The Catholic University of America, outlines the untenable position this new law forces upon Catholic employers.
He says, “Now the government is telling us that no matter what message we preach about contraception, sterilization, and abortion, we must provide these ‘preventive services’ in our employee and student health plans, and ask the members of our community to subsidize them in the fees we charge.

“In a nation where the free exercise of religion is supposedly sacrosanct, we may soon be left without the freedom to practice what we preach,” says Garvey.

What can be done?

What can we do? Richard Doerflinger of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Pro-Life Secretariat, sent a memo to diocesan respect life directors with these suggestions:

1. Concerned Catholics and others should call and write their elected representatives in Congress, urging them to support the Respect for Rights of Conscience Act (H.R. 1179, S. 1467). See for latest alerts.

2. The federal Department of Health and Human Services is holding a 60-day public comment period. Talking points for letters and help in submitting comments may be found at

3. Take part in the public debate! Op-eds, letters to the editors, blogs, Facebook, Twitter — there are so many ways to get our message out today. Use them.