“The day when Americans could take the Founders’ understanding of religious freedom as a given is over,” said the archbishop. “We need to wake up.”
Chaput, who leads the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia, pointed to Obamacare’s sterilization-contraception-abortifacient regulation as one example. The regulation, issued by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, requires almost all health-care plans in the United States to provide coverage for sterilizations, artificial contraceptives and abortion-inducing drugs to all women of reproductive age–even if the person or employer providing the insurance coverage and even if the female beneficiaries themselves do not want the coverage and believe it is morally wrong and violates their religious beliefs.
“[T]he HHS mandate can only be understood as a form of coercion,” the archbishop wrote in a recent column posted on the website of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. The column is entitled, “Religious Freedom and the Need to Wake Up.”
Last year, the Catholic bishops of the United States unanimously approved a statement describing the HHS regulation as an “unjust and illegal mandate.” The unanimous bishops said the regulation not only violated the religious freedom of religious institutions but also the “personal civil rights” of individual Americans who will be forced to comply with it either as employers or employees.
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