At least forty Catholic dioceses and organizations in the United States have filed suit against the Obama Administration for violation of First Amendment rights. According to CNSnews.com,
The suits filed by the Catholic organizations focus on the regulation that Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced last August and finalized in January that requires virtually all health-care plans in the United States to cover sterilizations and all Food and Drug Administration-approved contraceptives, including those that can cause abortions.
The Catholic Church teaches that sterilization, artificial contraception and abortion are morally wrong and that Catholics should not be involved in them. Thus, the regulation would require faithful Catholics and Catholic organizations to act against their consciences and violate the teachings of their faith.
Read the entire article here.
In his new book, Defending the Free Market: the Moral Case for a Free Economy, Fr. Robert Sirico cautions against the encroachment of government regulations and oversight of religiously-based health care institutions:
Because of the vital role of Christianity in the history of health care, we should feel the gravity of what has been happening to religious hospitals and clinics in the past several decades—and in an accelerated fashion in the past few years. Government’s increasing role in health care has tended to secularize these otherwise vibrant civil institutions—altering their meaning, culture, and mission, and compromising their effectiveness. As government reaches ever deeper into the health care sector, it forces these religious institutions to become more and more like secular institutions, until it actually begins to exclude people of conscience from remaining involved with the very institutions they created in the first place! This may strike some as merely a parochially Christian concern, but what’s at stake is relevant to everyone in this country: both religious liberty and the recovery and maintenance of vibrant, loving, and authentic health care in America.
Fr. Sirico’s words echo those of Cardinal Wuerl, who states, “The First Amendment enshrines in our nation’s Constitution the principle that religious organizations must be able to practice their faith free from government interference.”
The suit was filed after the Obama administration failed to agree to requests from the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops to rescind regulations forcing employers to offer artificial contraception and abortion as health care to employees.