1. The mandate does not exempt Catholic charities, schools, universities, or hospitals. These institutions are vital to the mission of the Church, but HHS does not
deem them "religious employers" worthy of conscience protection, because
they do not "serve primarily persons who share the[ir] religious
tenets." HHS denies these organizations religious
freedom precisely because their purpose is to serve the common good of
society—a purpose that government should encourage, not punish.
2. The mandate forces these institutions and others, against their conscience, to pay for things they consider immoral.Under the mandate, the governmentforces religious insurersto write
policies that violate their beliefs;forces religious employers and
schools to sponsor and subsidize coverage that violates their beliefs;
andforces religious employees and studentsto purchase coverage that
violates their beliefs.
3. The mandate forces coverage of sterilization and abortion-inducing drugs and devices as well as contraception. Though
commonly called the "contraceptive mandate," HHS's mandate also forces
employers to sponsor and subsidize coverage of sterilization. And,
by including all drugs approved by the FDA for use as contraceptives,
the HHS mandate includes drugs that can induce abortion, such as "Ella,"
a close cousin of the abortion pill RU-486.
4. Catholics of all political persuasions are unified in their opposition to the mandate. Catholics
who have long supported this Administration and its healthcare policies
have publicly criticized HHS's decision, including columnists E.J. Dionne, Mark Shields, and Michael Sean Winters; college presidents Father John Jenkins and Arturo Chavez; and Daughter of Charity Sister Carol Keehan, president and chief executive officer of the Catholic Health Association of the United States.
5. Many other religious and secular people and groups have spoken out strongly against the mandate. Many
recognize this as an assault on the broader principle of religious
liberty, even if they disagree with the Church on the underlying moral
question. For example, Protestant Christian, Orthodox Christian, and Orthodox Jewish groups--none of which oppose contraception--have issued statements against the decision. The Washington Post, USA Today, N.Y. Daily News, Detroit News, and other secular outlets, columnists, and bloggers have editorialized against it.
6. The federal mandate is much stricter than existing state mandates. HHS chose the narrowest state-level religious exemption as the model
for its own.That exemption was drafted by the ACLU and exists in only 3
states (New York, California, Oregon). Even without a religious
exemption, religious employers can already avoid the contraceptive
mandates in 28 states
by self-insuring their prescription drug coverage, dropping that
coverage altogether, or opting for regulation under a federal law
(ERISA) that pre-empts state law. The HHS mandate closes off all these
avenues of relief.