By Addie Darling
Towards the end of last night’s Vice Presidential Debate, Vice President Joe Biden and candidate Paul Ryan- both Catholics- touched upon several contentious topics surrounding the Church. Inevitably the conversation eventually turned to the newest of these issues, the HHS mandate requiring all employers -including Catholics or others who have a conscientious objection to contraceptives or abortifacients.
Ryan established the problem surrounding both the prevalence of abortion, and its link to the coercive elements of the HHS mandate.
What troubles me more is how this administration has handled all of these issues. Look at what they’re doing through Obamacare with respect to assaulting the religious liberties of this country. They’re infringing upon our first freedom, the freedom of religion, by infringing on Catholic charities, Catholic churches, Catholic hospitals. Our Church should not have to sue our federal government to maintain their religious liberties. And with respect to abortion, the Democratic Party used to say they wanted it to be ‘safe, legal and rare.’ Now they support it without restriction and with taxpayer funding: taxpayer funding in Obamacare, taxpayer funding with foreign aid.
Biden dismissed this claim, saying:
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.
Unfortunately, this is not a fact. Today, the USCCB issued a reply to the Vice President’s fabrications:
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.
Unfortunately for the Vice President, his facts don’t fit with reality. Under the HHS Mandate of the Obama-Biden Administration, nearly every Catholic institution in our nation must refer contraception, has to refer contraception, pay for contraception, and be a vehicle to get contraception in every insurance policy they provide. If they refuse to do so, they will face millions of dollars in fines that will cripple their ability to live out the principles of their faith. And that is a fact.