Catholic Advocate, a leading grassroots pro-life organization for Catholics, today launched a nationwide campaign providing resources for pro-life advocates wanting to speak out against the mandate the Obama administration has put place forcing religious groups to cover birth control and drugs that can cause abortions.
Catholic Advocate opposes the recently announced Department of Health and Human Services final rule affecting conscience protections in health care coverage and says the ruling forces organizations providing health plans to cover contraception, abortifacients, and sterilization regardless of their religious beliefs.
“One of the options to address this attack on people of faith is to directly contact our elected officials in Congress to let them know our dissatisfaction with this decision,” said Catholic Advocate President Matt Smith. “Our goal is to have at least 100,000 faithful Catholics participate each month until Congress acts.”
On the day of the HHS announcement, Cardinal-designate Timothy Dolan of New York, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) called the laity to this action when he said, “Let your elected leaders know that you want religious liberty and rights of conscience restored and that you want the administration’s contraceptive mandate rescinded.”
Catholic Advocate is asking for at least one leader per parish in this country to sign up at www.ProtectOurConscience.org. There they will have access to a grassroots toolbox to answer the call to rally faithful laity to reinstate our conscience rights.
“There are 17,782 parishes in the United States,” added Smith. “If faithful Catholics were able to average 115 letters per parish to their Representative and each Senator, Capitol Hill would receive over six million contacts on this issue. We would send a powerful message that cannot be ignored.”
A primary focus of this nationwide grassroots campaign is building additional support for H.R. 1179/S. 1467 — the Respect for Rights of Conscience Act introduced by Representative Jeff Fortenberry (Nebraska) and Senator Roy Blunt (Missouri).
The legislation amends the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) “to permit a health plan to decline coverage of specific items and services that are contrary to the religious beliefs of the sponsor, issuer, or other entity offering the plan or the purchaser or beneficiary (in the case of individual coverage) without penalty.” It also applies similar guidance to state health insurance exchange programs and becomes retroactive to when PPACA was signed into law by President Obama.
“The Obama Administration will force religious institutions to provide and pay for various forms of contraception,” says Smith. “They tried to offer a fig leaf to faith-based organizations by saying they have one year to comply, but make no mistake … the decision by the Obama administration is just a stay of execution. People of faith must unite against this administration’s constant assault on our freedom and beliefs.”
“President Obama said that he wanted to find “common ground” with people of faith. But allowing this decision to move forward sends a strong signal to people of faith; that door is closed. The Obama administration and its allies are attacking our values and our freedoms. They are committed to their agenda. The question is: Will we let them succeed?” Smith asked. “Will you join us in rallying behind the Respect for Rights of Conscience Act authored by Rep. Jeff Fortenberry? We must send a message to those who attack the core of our founding principles.”
“The only way we can be victorious over this anti-freedom, anti-religious agenda is to join together in one voice by standing up for our beliefs,” he concluded.