This must be certainly the first time the USCCB has issued a statement correcting a false assertion in a Vice Presidential debate.
WASHINGTON—The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) issued the following statement, October 12. Full text follows:
Last night, the following statement was made during the Vice Presidential debate regarding the decision of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to force virtually all employers to include sterilization and contraception, including drugs that may cause abortion, in the health insurance coverage they provide their employees:“With regard to the assault on the Catholic Church, let me make it absolutely clear. No religious institution—Catholic or otherwise, including Catholic social services, Georgetown hospital, Mercy hospital, any hospital—none has to either refer contraception, none has to pay for contraception, none has to be a vehicle to get contraception in any insurance policy they provide. That is a fact. That is a fact.”
This is not a fact. The HHS mandate contains a narrow, four-part exemption for certain “religious employers.” That exemption was made final in February and does not extend to “Catholic social services, Georgetown hospital, Mercy hospital, any hospital,” or any other religious charity that offers its services to all, regardless of the faith of those served.
HHS has proposed an additional “accommodation” for religious organizations like these, which HHS itself describes as “non-exempt.” That proposal does not even potentially relieve these organizations from the obligation “to pay for contraception” and “to be a vehicle to get contraception.” They will have to serve as a vehicle, because they will still be forced to provide their employees with health coverage, and that coverage will still have to include sterilization, contraception, and abortifacients. They will have to pay for these things, because the premiums that the organizations (and their employees) are required to pay will still be applied, along with other funds, to cover the cost of these drugs and surgeries.
USCCB continues to urge HHS, in the strongest possible terms, actually to eliminate the various infringements on religious freedom imposed by the mandate.
For more details, please see USCCB’s regulatory comments filed on May 15 regarding the proposed “accommodation”: www.usccb.org/about/general-counsel/rulemaking/upload/comments-on-advance-notice-of-proposed-rulemaking-on-preventive-services-12-05-15.pdf
I tuned in to the debates late, but did catch when Vice President Biden said:
My religion defines who I am, and I’ve been a practicing Catholic my whole life. And has particularly informed my social doctrine. The Catholic social doctrine talks about taking care of those who — who can’t take care of themselves, people who need help. With regard to — with regard to abortion, I accept my church’s position on abortion as a — what we call a de fide doctrine. Life begins at conception in the church’s judgment. I accept it in my personal life.
But I refuse to impose it on equally devout Christians and Muslims and Jews, and I just refuse to impose that on others, unlike my friend here, the — the congressman. I — I do not believe that we have a right to tell other people that — women they can’t control their body. It’s a decision between them and their doctor. In my view and the Supreme Court, I’m not going to interfere with that.
First off I need some Listerine Mindwash to remove this statement. Now there is no surprise he would say something so morally incoherent; he is only following the bloody footsteps of those before him who used this morally vapid dodge. Even dumber he calls life beginning at conception as a “de fide doctrine” when it is no such thing. Though liberal often try to make something that is in the area of science as an area of theology so they can make it a matter of opinion. They do the same with issues involving the natural law so as to seem to restrict something to just one religious body.
I think the really sad thing besides his statement is that there are many that will swallow the argument about “imposing on others.” This argument is so shallow that even a laser measuring device won’t be able to measure any depth to it. The fact that he would use this excuse while at the same time the Obama administration is imposing directly on Catholics in many areas including the HHS Mandate makes this ironic in the extreme.
As for Rep Paul Ryan’s answer to the same question. I liked how he took it out of the area of theology to that of science and added a personal story to illustrate the humanity of the unborn. He then went on to say:
“The policy of a Romney administration will be to oppose abortions with the exceptions for rape, incest and life of the mother.”
Now many will defend him saying this since it is not politically pragmatic to oppose this area of abortion. After all the Executive Branch is not the Legislative Branch and it will take an overturning of Roe V. Wade before any legal movement against abortion will occur. Plus even if it is overturned it will then become a matter for the states and not the Federal government. So practically there really will not be an opportunity to oppose abortion in these circumstances.
So I understand the practical arguments and I thank God the saints were not so pragmatically practical. This viewpoint would say that St. Thomas More should have just gone along and signed away his conscience since it wasn’t politically practical for him to oppose his friend King Henry VIII. Instead we get a statement that an intrinsically evil act will not be opposed even generally. This also continues to enforce that opposing abortion for these exceptions is extreme when it is extreme to murder someone for the sin of their father. In some ways Ryan’s statement parallels Biden’s in that Ryan is personally opposed to these exceptions, but won’t impose it on others.