Thursday, September 22, 2011

Urgent - Action Urged

On September 9th, the Bishops of the Catholic Conference of Illinois issued a letter to Kathleen Sebelius of the Department of Health and Human Services, expressing their opposition to the Interim Final Rules on Preventive Services. The two objectionable rules are: 1) a mandate on all private health care plans to cover prescription contraceptives approved by the FDA — including abortifacient drugs — surgical sterilizations and related patient in education and counseling; and 2) an incredibly narrow definition of religious lawyer for exemption from the mandate.

Our faith teaches that human fertility cooperates with God in the creation of new human life and ensures the extension and prosperity of our society. The government's treatment of pregnancy as a disease to be prevented or terminated on any whim undermines not only our teaching, but also the respect for human sexuality and human life intrigues that too well ordered society....

The Catholic Church's teaching on the immorality of contraception and sterilization as a rejection of God's gift life-giving will may not enjoy popular support. The church may be one of the last major structures in American society to hold this belief. For this reason, the rule seems not only to target religious freedom generally but Catholicism in particular — an egregious violation of the free exercise and establishment clauses of the First Amendment....

For these reasons, we ask that the regulation be revoked. If not, we urge modification to embrace and defend the public ministry of religious institutions. Signed by: Cardinal Francis George; Thomas G Doran, Bishop of Rockford; Daniel Jenky, Bishop of Peoria; Edward Braxton, Bishop of Belleville; Thomas John Paprocki, Bishop of Springfield-in-Illinois; and Daniel Conlon, Bishop of Joliet.

In addition, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops released a nationwide bulletin insert with an urgent plea to respond by September 30.

ACTION: Please send an e-mail message to HHS by visiting Once you send your comments to HHS, you will be automatically invited to send a message 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.

Please do this by September 30th

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