The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops would like to encourage every Knight of Columbus to take immediate action to support religious freedom and rights of conscience for Catholics and Catholic institutions.
The delegates at our 129th Supreme Convention in Denver in August unanimously passed a resolution pledging our support for freedom of conscience in health care. This resolution was in response to a rule recently issued by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) requiring almost all private health plans to cover contraception and sterilization as “preventive services” for women.
The new rule would force insurance plans to cover all FDA-approved contraceptive methods and sterilization procedures, including “emergency contraception” drugs that may cause an abortion by interfering with the implantation of a newly-conceived human being. More information is available on the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops website and in the NCHLA Action Alert regarding the Health and Human Services Contraceptive Mandate. The mandate will force individuals and groups with religious or moral objections to purchase and provide such coverage. The rule poses a serious threat to the religious freedom of both individuals and institutions.
The Department of Health and Human Service has established a period for public comment that ends on September 30th. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops is encouraging Catholics to show their support for bi-partisan legislation, the Respect for Rights of Conscience Act (H.R. 1179 / S.1467), which would ensure that federal mandates do not violate the deeply-held moral and religious convictions of our citizens.
After sending a message to HHS, Knights will be automatically invited to send a message to their elected representatives in Congress, urging them to support the Respect for Rights of Conscience Act.
The Knights of Columbus will always support religious freedom as a basic civil right. No persons or institutions should ever be forced to act in a manner contrary to their moral and religious beliefs.