Below is a copy of what the Scientist Dad and I sent in. Please email the Department of Health and Human Services (Kathleen.Sebelius@hhs.gov) by Friday to comment on the health care reform regulations. It may be "but a drop in the bucket," but I will in future years be glad I said something rather than nothing.
Dear Secretary Sebelius,
We would like to express our opposition to the current religious exemption which Health and Human Services has granted to healthcare institutions in reference to the new health care reform law. As Roman Catholics, we are deeply concerned about the implications and precedence this regulation holds for religious freedom and the free exercise of conscience.
The current proposed religious exemption applies only to those organizations employing and serving primarily members of their own faith community. It requires these institutions, such as Catholic hospitals, to proselytize those citizens coming to them for help.
We are aware, Madame Secretary, that you are yourself a professed Roman Catholic. Although we also understand that you hold a very different view of human reproduction and fertility than we do, we hope that we can appeal to you and your Department on the level of fellow citizens and members of the same faith community. It would violate the whole purpose of the Catholic Church's service to the poor for the government to require that we provide services (e.g., contraception and sterilization) that violate our deepest held beliefs about the human person. It would also violate the American view of public service to require Catholic institutions to either close their doors to the poor or proselytize those coming to seek comfort and aide. Please remember what you do love about your own faith community--it's free service to the poorest of the poor--which cannot be forcibly divorced from its ancient respect for the human person.
We disagree with your political stance on reproductive rights, but we are also glad that you are free to exercise the dictates of your conscience. Please protect the rights of Catholic healthcare workers and administrators to do the same.
Expand the religious exemption to allow Catholic institutions (and all other religious institutions) to serve and employ the entire population without recourse to indoctrination.
Thank you for your service to our country and for your consideration.