Cardinal O’Malley and Archbishop Lori have asked senators to vote against the “Protect Women’s Health From Corporate Interference Act of 2014”

Cardinal O’Malley and Archbishop Lori have asked senators to vote against the “Protect Women’s Health From Corporate Interference Act of 2014”

A new front has opened up for US bishops in their battle to defend religious freedom. Cardinal Sean O’Malley, President of the Episcopal Commission for the defence of life and Archbishop Lori, chair the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities and Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty have called on senators to oppose the Protect Women’s Health From Corporate Interference Act of 2014.

In a letter to senators, the two religious leaders urged politicians to vote against the bill which “though cast as a response to the Supreme Court’s narrow decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, the bill ranges far beyond that decision, potentially attacking all existing federal protections of conscience and religious freedom regarding health coverage mandates,” the letter reads.

President Obama’s health care legislation includes provisions that facilitate abortion and various contraceptive methods, essentially forcing employers to cover the above and many organisations, Christian ones especially, have contested this in court. The Hobby Lobby, for example, won its appeal in the Supreme Court. The two bishops claim that the new bill  is aimed at overturning the Supreme Court’s decision, extensively denying people’s right to the freedom of conscience and religious freedom.

“The bill,” they write, “does not befit a nation committed to religious liberty. Indeed, if it were to pass, it would call that commitment into question. Nor does it show a genuine commitment to expanded health coverage, as it would pressure many Americans of faith to stop providing or purchasing health coverage altogether. We oppose the bill and urge you to reject it.”

The bill was put forward by Democratic US Senator, Patty Murray. O’Malley and Lori add that As a broad, interfaith coalition of religious leaders recently explained: “Congress has never passed legislation with the specific purpose of reducing Americans’ religious freedom. It should not consider doing so now.” Last 30 June the Supreme Court ruled that the HHS Mandate cannot force family businesses to administer medicines and instruments which violate the religious principles of the family’s members.

Another Supreme Court decision has also come under attack by politicians, this time in Massachusetts. The Supreme Court voided the 15 metre buffer zone created around the state’s abortion clinics to prevent pro-life activists from coming near women who came to these centres to have their pregnancies terminated. Politicians are therefore deliberating on a law that would authorise police to remove anyone standing within 35 feet of an entrance or driveway, physically blocking it. However, in a comment published in the Boston Globe, William Cotter, a prominent pro-life leader, stated that pro-lifers had never acted in a violent or threatening way. Surveillance cameras in front of these clinics have not produced any footage showing pro-life violence, Cotter writes. Furthermore, the police officers that have been present outside abortion clinics since the Supreme Court nullified the buffer zone, have not arrested or reported anyone.

Vatican Insider