Statement of Bishop Tobin on HHS Mandate


(PROVIDENCE, R.I.)-The Most Rev. Thomas J. Tobin, Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence, today released the following statement relative to a recent ruling made by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that, according to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, forces nearly all private health plans to include coverage for all FDA-approved prescription contraceptive drugs and devices, as well as surgical sterilization.

According to the USCCB, these are listed among "preventive services for women" that all health plans will have to cover without co-pays or other cost-sharing -- regardless of whether the insurer, the employer or other plan sponsor, or even the woman herself objects to such coverage. The exemption provided for "religious employers" is so narrow that it fails to cover the vast majority of faith-based organizations, including Catholic hospitals, universities, and service organizations that help millions every year. Ironically, not even Jesus and His disciples would have qualified.

“The ruthless decision of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to impose mandatory coverage for sterilizations and contraceptives upon private insurance programs, including those offered by the Catholic Church, is an unprecedented, outrageous and unacceptable attack on religious freedom and the moral life and ministry of the Church,” said Bishop Tobin.

“In practical terms, the imposition of this mandate could mean that Catholic institutions will no longer be able to provide health insurance for their own employees. I encourage all members of our diocesan Church to contact their representatives in Congress (information below) to urge them to oppose this attack on religious freedom and to support legislation that will respect the right of the Catholic Church and other faith communities to provide health insurance in a way that will conform with their deeply held religious beliefs,” added the Bishop.

Read the Rhode Island Catholic editorial published in the January 26, 2012 edition here.

Senator Jack Reed

1000 Chapel View Blvd., Suite 290

Cranston, RI 02920

Office Phone: 401-943-3100

E-Mail: http://reed.senate.gov/contact/contact-share.cfm

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse

Rhode Island Office

170 Westminster Street

Suite 1100

Providence, RI 02903

Office Phone: 401-453-5294

E-Mail: http://whitehouse.senate.gov/contact/

Representative David Cicilline

Rhode Island Office

1070 Main Street, Suite 300,

Pawtucket, RI 02860

Phone: 401-729-5600

E-mail: https://cicilline.house.gov/contact-me/email-me - please visit this link & complete the online form

Representative James Langevin

Rhode Island Office

300 Centerville Road

Suite 200

Warwick, RI 02886

Office Phone: 401-732-9400

E-Mail: http://langevin.house.gov/comments.shtml