Catholic, Baptist leaders seek passage of health care conscience act

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WASHINGTON, June 20, 2013–Catholic and Southern Baptist leaders heading up their respective denomination’s efforts on religious liberty issues, have written to members of Congress seeking passage of the Health Care Conscience Rights Act.

“As many people are being forced — and many others will soon be forced — to either follow what the government compels or suffer for their faith, now is the time to pass legislation that protects our God-given freedom,” said the June 21 letter, signed by Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore, head of the U.S. bishops’ Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty, and the Rev. Russell D. Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission.

One immediate concern they noted was the federal Health and Human Services mandate for nearly all private health plans to cover sterilization for women “and all FDA-approved ‘contraceptive’ drugs and devices. Despite assurances to the contrary, HHS’s accommodations to protect the rights of religious freedom and conscience under the mandate remain inadequate,” they said.

“Countless nonprofit and for-profit organizations must either obey the government’s mandate in violation of their beliefs, or follow their consciences and incur massive fines or the loss of their ministry. This is unacceptable.” (CNS)

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