Take Action at www.pacatholic.org by September 30

In implementing the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (the new health care reform

law), the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently issued a rule requiring

almost all private health plans to cover contraception and sterilization as “preventive services” for

women. The mandate even forces individuals and groups with religious or moral objections to

purchase and provide such coverage if they are to receive or provide health coverage at all. This

poses an unprecedented threat to individual and institutional religious freedom.

The rule includes a religious exemption so extremely narrow that it protects almost no one. It

covers only a “religious employer” that has the “inculcation of religious values” as its purpose,

primarily employs and serves persons who share its religious tenets, and is a church organization

under two narrow provisions of the tax code. A great many religious organizations — including

Catholic colleges and universities, as well as hospitals and charitable institutions that serve the

public – will be ineligible. Individuals and religiously affiliated health insurers will not qualify for

the exemption.

The new rule would force insurance plans to cover “all Food and Drug Administration approved

contraceptive methods, sterilization procedures, and patient education and counseling for all

women with reproductive capacity.” Never before has the federal government required private

health plans to include such coverage. The FDA-approved “emergency contraception” (EC) drugs

that are covered by this mandate can work by interfering with implantation of a newly conceived

human being. Also, the drug the FDA most recently approved for EC, “Ella,” a close analogue to

the abortion drug RU-486, has been shown in animal tests to cause abortion. Thus, the mandate

includes drugs that may cause an abortion both before and after implantation.

ACTION: Please send an e-mail message to HHS by visiting www.pacatholic.org. With just a

few clicks of the mouse, you can send a message to HHS asking them to respect religious liberty

and to your elected representatives in Congress, urging them to support the Respect for Rights of

Conscience Act (H.R. 1179/S. 1467) to ensure that such federal mandates do not violate

Americans’ moral and religious convictions.

MESSAGE TO HHS: “Pregnancy is not a disease, and drugs and surgeries to prevent it are not

basic health care that the government should require all Americans to purchase. Please remove

sterilization and prescription contraceptives from the list of ‘preventive services’ the federal

government is mandating in private health plans. It is especially important to exclude any drug

that may cause an early abortion, and to fully respect religious freedom as other federal laws do.

The narrow religious exemption in HHS’s new rule protects almost no one. I urge you to allow all

organizations and individuals to offer, sponsor and obtain health coverage that does not violate

their moral and religious convictions.”

WHEN: Please send your comments to HHS by the September 30 deadline. You can send your

message at www.pacatholic.org.