No 'Accommodation'

Although the Obama administration’s “accommodation” for religious employers to a government mandate that contraceptives and sterilization be included in most health plans “may create an appearance of...compromise,” it does not change the administration’s fundamental position, attorneys for the U.S. bishops said on May 15. “We are convinced that no public good is served by this unprecedented nationwide mandate and that forcing individual and institutional stakeholders to sponsor and subsidize an otherwise widely available product over their religious and moral objections serves no legitimate, let alone compelling, government interest,” said Anthony R. Picarello and Michael F. Moses, general counsel and associate general counsel, respectively, to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in comments filed with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The comments were in response to the administration’s “advance notice of proposed rulemaking” published on March 16 in the Federal Register, which offered new ways for religious organizations to comply with the new requirements. The attorneys argued that the best solution to their objections would be to rescind the mandate.

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