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Statement on Proposed Rule for “Contraceptive Mandate”
February 1, 2023 |On January 30, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a proposed rule to reduce and, in part, eliminate legal protections from the “contraceptive mandate” for those who have religious or moral objections to facilitating sterilizations or the use of contraceptives and abortion-inducing drugs. In response, Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York, chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Committee for Religious Liberty, issued the following statement:
“It has been over a decade since the federal government first announced the HHS contraceptive mandate. The version of regulations that was issued in 2018 provided appropriately clear and robust protections for the exercise of religious beliefs and moral convictions, free from government punishment, and has been upheld by the Supreme Court. But HHS is now proposing to amend them yet again. It is past time for HHS to leave well enough alone in this regard.
“While we are pleased that the proposed regulations appear, at this early stage of review, to retain the bulk of the existing religious exemption, their elimination of protections for moral convictions is disheartening. The proper reaction to the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs is not, as the proposed regulations claim, to make it free for women to sterilize themselves, but rather to relieve the burdens that our laws and culture place both on mothers and those who may become mothers.
“We regret that it is necessary to revisit this matter and will file more thorough comments with HHS at the appropriate time.”
More information on the HHS contraceptive mandate, the USCCB’s previous comments on this rulemaking, and other regulations impacting religious freedom is available at www.usccb.org/do-no-harm.