Our Response to the HHS Mandate
Dear Family Members and Friends of the Sisters of St. Joseph the Worker,
Praised be Jesus Christ! In recent months, President Obama unveiled a ruling from the Department of Health and Human Services commonly referred to as the “HHS Mandate.” As you are aware, this mandate and the ‘compromise’ proclaimed by President Obama will force any employer, regardless of the religious belief, to provide insurance coverage to pay for abortion-inducing drugs, sterilization, and artificial contraception.
The Sisters of St. Joseph the Worker support the Bishops of the United States as well as many leaders of other religious communities, in strongly objecting to this mandate.
This is not a matter of women being able to access health care but a matter of freedom of religion. It is a matter of whether the government is permitted to force religious people and institutions to provide coverage for contraception and sterilization, even when it violates their religious beliefs. Freedom to practice religion is the first right protected in the Bill of Rights. If President Obama’s HHS Mandate is allowed to stand, what other mandates might be enacted that would further erode the basic freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights?
The Mandate and the proposed ‘compromise’ would force the Sisters of St. Joseph the Worker into the impossible situation of having to stop serving and employing peoples of all faiths so that we will fall under the narrow exemption proposed by the ‘compromise’. Under President Obama’s Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, we will be required by law to obtain and provide health insurance or face fines. Since this HHS mandate will require every insurer to include abortion-inducing drugs, sterilization, and artificial contraception, so it will be impossible for us to obtain coverage without violating our beliefs. This threatens to end our ability to serve in the education and health care fields. We cannot pay for services or provide services that are in conflict with Church teaching. We will not go against our consciences and violate the teachings of the Catholic Church.
We are asking for your help in this matter. First of all we ask that you pray that religious freedom will be protected in our country. With God all things are possible. We also ask you to contact your Representatives and Senators. Express to them your concerns about this issue and how it will impact you and your loved ones. May God bless you.
Mother Mary Christina, SJW
and the Sisters of St. Joseph the Worker