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Boston Archdiocese Threatens To Stop Offering Employee Health Care

In a sharply worded letter sent to parishioners on Sunday, Boston Cardinal Sean O’Malley said forcing Catholic churches to cover the cost of birth control for employees is violation of Catholic consciences. (AP)

In a sharply worded letter sent to parishioners on Sunday, Boston Cardinal Sean O’Malley said forcing Catholic churches to cover the cost of birth control for employees is violation of Catholic consciences. (AP)

The Archdiocese of Boston says it may stop offering health insurance for its employees if the Obama administration does not relax a new rule that requires many church-affiliated employers to cover the cost of birth control in employee health plans.

In a sharply worded letter sent to parishioners, Boston Cardinal Sean O’Malley called the rule a violation of Catholic consciences. Citing the Church’s longstanding opposition to contraception, O’Malley wrote:

In its ruling, the Administration has cast aside the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, denying to Catholics our Nation’s first and most fundamental freedom, that of religious liberty.

O’Malley’s letter was one of many sent out to parishes across the country at the behest of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

The debate continued Monday morning when Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius argued in USA Today that the health care policy exempts Catholic churches — thus protecting freedom of religion — but not Catholic-run institutions like hospitals or universities, institutions that often employ non-Catholic workers.

Is this ruling on birth control and health care an attack on religious freedom? We put the question to Father Bryan Hehir, secretary for health care and social services for the Archdiocese of Boston.

Guest:

  • Father Bryan Hehir, secretary for health care and social services for the Archdiocese of Boston

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