Reprieve For Religious Freedom

, Malcolm A. Kline, Leave a comment

Catholic colleges and universities may get a one-year reprieve from the Obama Administration mandate that would force the institutions to provide contraceptives, sterilization and abortifacients. The U. S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued the regulations earlier this year.

“Catholic colleges worrying about running afoul of the new Obama HHS mandate that requires payment and referral for abortion-causing drugs and birth control in their health care plans may be able to take advantage of a one-year reprieve,” Steve Ertelt reports on Life “Although the details are sketchy, the Cardinal Newman Society, a Catholic educational watchdog group, says there may be a way to avoid the massive penalties for not complying with the Obama HHS mandate.”

“As the August 1 deadline to comply with the HHS mandate approaches and Catholic institutions decide what to do with their current health insurance plans, The Cardinal Newman Society is encouraging Catholic colleges and universities to utilize available opportunities to avoid or delay compliance with the mandate,” CNS states. “For Catholic universities seeking to delay this decision, it is important to note that the implementation of the current healthcare legislation includes language which could allow qualified institutions to postpone compliance with the HHS mandate for an additional year.”

“The administration published a ‘Guidance’ document dated February 10, 2012,” Matthew Bowman, a top attorney with the Alliance Defending Freedom, claimed In a letter ADF provided to CNS. “It [the Administration letter] claims that for a one-year time period, a religious non-profit might be eligible to avoid some consequences of the HHS Mandate on their employee health plans. A later document issued by the administration claims that the same Guidance applies to student health plans,” Bowman explained. The ADF was formerly the Alliance Defense Fund.

“For employee plans that qualify, the federal government agencies promise not to enforce their HHS Mandate until the plan year that begins after August 1, 2013,” Bowman explained. “This would relieve the organization of government fines and lawsuits due to omitting contraception etc. from their plan.”

“This would not, however, prevent employees from suing the organization for its failure to cover contraception, etc. as required by the HHS Mandate. Thus, the self-identified ‘safe harbor’ is not actually safe.”

Malcolm A. Kline is the Executive Director of Accuracy in Academia.

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