CV NEWS FEED // CatholicVote in early February called on Catholics to fight back against a proposed rule change that would have stripped religious healthcare workers of the right to opt out of procedures they consider immoral. By the deadline, over 7,000 concerned citizens had submitted public comments to the Biden administration expressing their opposition through CatholicVote alone.
“That’s 7,000 comments just from CatholicVote followers! Our sources tell us HHS won’t complete the full tally of comments until weeks from now, but it appears that CV is responsible for a significant percentage of the total,” said CatholicVote President Brian Burch.
“In 2019, the Trump administration implemented a new federal regulation, called a rule, which strengthened conscience protections for Catholic healthcare workers,” CatholicVote stated in its call for public comments. “It ensured that Catholic doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals could not be compelled to assist in procedures they believe are immoral, including abortion, transgender mutilation surgeries, sterilizations, assisted suicides, and others.”
The Trump-era rule “also strengthened protections for Catholic hospitals and other faith-based medical practices to be able to care for patients without being compelled to offer immoral procedures.”
Under the Biden administration, however, HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra “has proposed rescinding the Trump rule and weakening these conscience protections,” a prospect that legal scholars warn “could result in firings of Catholic healthcare workers and jeopardize funding for Catholic hospitals.”
After the March 6 deadline for public comments passed, Burch celebrated the high participation in the campaign to stop the rule-change, noting it could have important real-world results for the cause of religious freedom.
“The administration is required by law to accept comments from the public about changes like this. More importantly: the government is required to read every single comment and respond to them in the government’s official publication, The Federal Register,” Burch explained:
That means the more comments there are, the longer it takes them to implement these outrageous changes – and the more time our allies in Washington have to lobby against, legally challenge, and sometimes even defeat the Biden administration’s efforts altogether.
The Biden administration has already proposed another, similar rule-change – this one affecting organizations and businesses that object morally to abortions and abortion-inducing contraceptives.
As CatholicVote reported Friday:
In a formal proposal to create a new regulation, the Biden administration is trying to strip away the rights of organizations to refuse to comply with the HHS mandate because they have a moral objection to abortion, contraceptives, or sterilization.
If you’re feeling a sense of déjà vu, it’s with good reason. The HHS mandate has been subject to extensive litigation and faith-based employers have won victory after victory against it. But the Biden administration is now going after non-religious employers who have a “moral” but not necessarily “religious” objection.
“It was bad enough when the HHS mandate first came out in 2013,” said CatholicVote Communications Director Joshua Mercer. “It forced Americans to participate in the promotion of abortion-inducing ‘contraceptives’ under the guise of providing compassionate healthcare – a total deception – but back then there were at least some limits on what Democrats and federal officials could get away with presenting as deserving of universal support.”
In today’s environment, the prospect of essentially renewing the worst aspects of the HHS mandate is far more threatening, “both to religious freedom and to the lives of unborn children,” Mercer added:
The Biden administration is redefining essential facts left and right, from the meaning of ‘sex’ in Title IX rules intended to defend women’s sports and privacy to the whole concept of innocent human life as sacred and deserving of protections under the law. I mean we’re talking about an administration that’s been pushing for abortion-on-demand, at taxpayers’ expense, through all nine months of pregnancy. So who knows how far they’ll push it if we let them start mandating everyone comply with the HHS mandate!
To find out more about submitting a public comment against the Biden administration’s latest proposed rule-change, readers can click here.