Fact Check: Who Supports the Conscience "Accommodation"?

February 17, 2012

The Obama administration has claimed endorsements from religious organizations to convince the public that their "accommodation" for conscience rights restores religious liberties that are threatened by HHS' health care mandate. The only problem is, many of these organizations remain opposed to this threat to their First Amendment protections, and they have issued statements making clear that the administration's latest action is still "unacceptable" and "any representation to the contrary is false."

Claim...

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney: And the organizations that will be most affected by this -- Catholic Charities and the Catholic Health Association -- have expressed their support for this policy, and we obviously appreciate that. (White House Press Briefing, February 13, 2012)

White House Chief of Staff Jack Lew: It is one of the core principles of our country, that we have respect the religious liberties that this country is built on. The solution that we reached is consistent with those core principles. That's why he got the support of a range of groups, from the Catholic Health Association and Catholic Charities, to Planned Parenthood. (Fox News Sunday, February 12, 2012)

Fact...

Catholic Charities USA: In response to a great number of mischaracterizations in the media, Catholic Charities USA wants to make two things very clear:
1.------ We have not endorsed the accommodation to the HHS mandate that was announced by the administration last Friday.
2.------ We unequivocally share the goal of the US Catholic Bishops to uphold religious liberty and will continue to work with the USCCB towards that goal.
Any representation to the contrary is false. (Catholic Charities USA Homepage)

Catholic Charities Archdiocese of Denver: We agree that the proposal "continues to involve needless government intrusion in the internal governance of religious institutions, and to threaten government coercion of religious people and groups to violate their most deeply held convictions." This mandate shows disrespect toward religious organizations and toward the Constitutional right of every American to religious liberty. (CCDenver.org)

300 Religious Leaders and Academics: In response to President Obama's announcement of a government compromise over the new controversial mandate requiring employers to pay for abortion-causing drugs and other services, over 300 academics have signed a statement entitled: "Unacceptable." (Statement available here)

US Conference of Catholic Bishops: But we note at the outset that the lack of clear protection for key stakeholdersfor self-insured religious employers; for religious and secular for-profit employers; for secular non-profit employers; for religious insurers; and for individualsis unacceptable and must be corrected. And in the case where the employee and insurer agree to add the objectionable coverage, that coverage is still provided as a part of the objecting employer's plan, financed in the same way as the rest of the coverage offered by the objecting employer. This, too, raises serious moral concerns. (Bishops Renew Call to Legislative Action on Religious Liberty, 2/10/12)
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