The Knights of Columbus stands with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in opposition to the recent decision by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to force Catholic employers including hospitals, universities, and charities to provide health insurance that covers contraception and sterilization.
The new rule from HHS gives Catholic institutions until August of 2013 before it begins forcing insurance plans to cover all FDA-approved contraceptive methods and sterilization procedures, including several drugs that induce abortion. The mandate will force individuals and groups with religious or moral objections to purchase and provide such coverage. More information is available on the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops website.
Cardinal-designate Timothy Dolan of New York, President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, said, “never before has the federal government forced individuals and organizations to go out into the marketplace and buy a product that violates their conscience. This shouldn’t happen in a land where free exercise of religion ranks first in the Bill of Rights.”
The U.S. bishops are urging all Catholics to let their elected leaders know they want religious liberty and rights of conscience restored and the administration’s contraceptive mandate rescinded. Answering the call, the Knights of Columbus is asking every member and his family to take immediate action.
Please send a message to your elected representatives in Congress by visiting the National Committee for a Human Life Amendment Action Alert. Urge them to co-sponsor the Respect for Rights of Conscience Act (H.R. 1179 / S. 1467), bi-partisan legislation would ensure that federal mandates do not violate the deeply-held moral and religious convictions of our citizens.
Religious freedom is, as Pope Benedict XVI has said, the “most cherished of American freedoms,” and the “first of human rights.” No persons or institutions should ever be forced to act in a manner contrary to their moral and religious beliefs.