In what the New York Times asserts is an attempt to appease his liberal Catholic supporters, President Obama announced Friday his decision to “soften” a rule requiring religious-affiliated organizations to pay for insurance plans that offer free birth control: “rather than requiring religiously affiliated charities and universities to pay for contraceptives for their employees, the cost would be shifted to health insurance companies.”
Following an initial statement expressing a reservation of judgement, the Catholic Bishops of America have released a second response, again voicing their grave concerns and reiterating their call to repeal the mandate:
… stepping away from the particulars, we note that today’s proposal continues to involve needless government intrusion in the internal governance of religious institutions, and to threaten government coercion of religious people and groups to violate their most deeply held convictions. In a nation dedicated to religious liberty as its first and founding principle, we should not be limited to negotiating within these parameters. The only complete solution to this religious liberty problem is for HHS to rescind the mandate of these objectionable services.
Rocco Palmo (Whispers in the Loggia) has the scoop of the evening with an internal briefing within the USCCB, a “a heavily bulked-up version of a second public response”.
- Dale Price (Dyspeptic Mutterings) thinks that the proposed “compromise” deserves the Cleveland Browns Reply.
- And according to Andrew McCarthy (NOR): “the Justice Department used to call this sort of thing fraud:
In the scenario addressed by the Obama administration’s cockamamie “compromise,” religious organization employer (call it “A”) wishes to purchase health insurance from B insurance company for C, its employees, but not cover birth-control services that violate A’s religious principles and that the First Amendment protects A from having to subsidize.
Obama is telling A that it can pay B and that the payments will not cover birth control services for C; he is then telling B to cover the birth-control services for C — but only because A is making the payments. A is thus deceived by Obama’s representations into paying B for C’s birth-control services.
That is fraud. If you tried to pull something like it, federal agents and attorneys would investigate and prosecute you.