a statement late on Friday declaring that the small alteration President Barack Obama had announced earlier in the day to a regulation that would force all health-care plans in the United States to cover sterilizations and all FDA-approved contraceptives--including those that cause abortion--is 'unacceptable" because, among other things, it does not protect the freedom-of-conscience rights of secular for-profit employers, or secular non-profit employers, or religious insurers, or self-insured religious employers, or individual Americans
The alteration President Obama described Friday says merely that insurance companies providing coverage to employees of religious institutions that object to sterilization, contraception or abortifacients will have to provide free coverage for these things to the employees rather than explicitly include them among the benefits covered by the premiums charged to the religious employer.
The regulation will still require individual Americans and private-sector employers to buy, and insurers to provide, insurance coverage that pays for sterilizations, contraception and abortifacients--even if doing so violates their religious beliefs.
The bishops expressed their hope that the new regulatory mandates the president described today "appear subject to some measure of change." "But," they said, "we note at the outset that the lack of clear protection for key stakeholders—for self-insured religious employers; for religious and secular for-profit employers; for secular non-profit employers; for religious insurers; and for individuals—is unacceptable and must be corrected." [The bolded text is in the original.]
Here is the entirety of the bishops' statement explaining their continuing objections to the Obama administration's mandate that all heath-care plans must cover sterilizations, artificial contraception, and abortifacients--all of which the Catholic Church teaches are morally wrong: