Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius said today that aside from houses of worship, all other religious agencies and organizations will be required to provide sterilization and contraceptive services, including abortifacients, in their employee healthcare plans; none will be allowed to charge co-pays or deductibles. The policy goes into effect in August 2013 for these entities; all others will be required to provide these services in August 2012.
Sebelius explained how her directive applies to non-church religious entities such as Catholic hospitals and universities: “Employers wishing to take advantage of the additional year must certify that they qualify for the delayed implementation. This additional year will allow these organizations more time and flexibility to adapt to this new rule.”
She also said, “I believe this proposal strikes the appropriate balance between religious freedom and increasing access to important preventive services.”
The language is Orwellian. With stunning magnanimity, Sebelius tells Catholic non-profits that they can take advantage of their one-year reprieve as long as they seek the blessings of the federal government. If they pass muster with the bureaucrats, then they have time to figure out how they can prostitute their religiously ground convictions, or prepare for bankruptcy.
To top things off, after shoving the radical secular agenda down the throat of Catholics—and other people of faith who share their concerns—Sebelius congratulates the Obama administration for striking a “balance” between religious liberty and Obamacare. But, of course, no balance was struck: the edict grants nothing to those who believe in religious liberty, and she knows it.
That this dictatorial edict is being announced in an election year indicates both contempt for the First Amendment and plain stupidity.