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Posted on Jul 1, 2013 | 1 comment

EWTN on the HHS Mandate

EWTN on the HHS Mandate

EWTN iHeart

EWTN Global Catholic Network released the following statement Friday. Founded and still run by Carmelite sisters in Irondale, AL, EWTN is one of the many religion-affiliated non-profits that will either have to provide birth control, elective sterilization, and “Plan B” drugs in their employee insurance plans, or will have their employees provided these things as a consequence of their employment, depending on how the government evaluates their organization.

Today, the Department of Health and Human Services issued a final rule for the contraception mandate portion of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). EWTN and its attorneys are still assessing this final rule, but our initial analysis has been disappointing.

“The final rule issued today is inadequate because it appears to have changed nothing,” said EWTN President and Chief Executive Officer Michael P. Warsaw. Specifically, it imposes the same narrow definition of a church, does not expand the exemption beyond churches, and still provides a meaningless “accommodation.” In short, it appears to have ignored the unprecedented number of public comments made against this HHS Mandate.

The proposed rule released in February of 2013 separated organizations into churches, eligible organizations, and everyone else. Under that proposed rule, religious organizations were fully exempt, eligible organizations received an accommodation, and everyone else was mandated to pay for abortion-causing drugs, contraceptives, and voluntary sterilization procedures. EWTN filed public comments strongly arguing that these services and drugs are not health care, are validly objectionable on grounds other than religious beliefs, and that the rule was faulty for allowing only churches to be fully exempt while leaving organizations like EWTN on shaky ground, unable to reliably determine if it even qualifies as an eligible organization. The proposed rule also failed to show that the “accommodation” provided for eligible organizations did anything to actually accommodate reasonable objection to the mandated services.

Despite this news, we are encouraged by the recent court victories for Tyndale Publishers and Hobby Lobby because these cases demonstrate that the rule unfairly limits religious liberty and first amendment rights. EWTN and its attorneys at the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty will continue to assess the options at this time.

Said Warsaw: “EWTN remains committed to fighting this senseless mandate.”

EWTN Global Catholic Network, in its 32nd year, is the largest religious media network in the world. The Catholic Beat’s sister apostolate, Sacred Heart Radio, produces the Son Rise Morning Show heard on EWTN affiliates around the nation and carries many EWTN programs.

1 Comment

  1. From the Catholic League- June 28, 2013

    Catholic League President Bill Donohue comments on the final rules set forth today by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) regarding its abortifacient mandate:

    “The HHS mandate forcing Catholic non-profits to pay for abortion-inducing drugs, contraception and sterilization will not kick in on August 1, as scheduled; an extension has been granted to January 1, 2014.

    There are some changes in the rules worth noting, but they are not satisfactory.

    Attempts to distance Catholic non-profits from directly providing insurance coverage for these morally objectionable services are admirable, but we’ve been there before: five months ago we were told that more in the way of accommodation was forthcoming, and we applauded that gesture. But now we know that the Obama administration has come up short.

    The Catholic community, and many others, are not asking for anything new: all we are asking for is to respect the status quo ante as it applies to this issue. It is not people of faith who sought this confrontation—it is President Obama.”