In the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling June 28 that the federal Affordable Care Act is constitutional, the Minnesota Catholic Conference called on Congress and the president to amend the law to protect the unborn, the rights of conscience and the health care needs of immigrant families.
“For nearly a century, the Catholic bishops of the United States have been and continue to be consistent advocates for comprehensive health care reform to ensure access to life-affirming health care for all, especially the poorest and the most vulnerable,” said Jason Adkins, executive director of the MCC, which is the public policy voice of the Catholic Church in Minnesota.
Adkins said the bishops, however, did not support final passage of the ACA for three main reasons:
First, the ACA allows use of federal funds to pay for elective abortions and for plans that cover such abortions, contradicting longstanding federal policy.
Second, the ACA fails to include necessary language to provide essential conscience protection, both within and beyond the abortion context. The HHS mandate forces religious and other employers to cover sterilization and contraception, including abortifacient drugs.
Third, the ACA fails to treat immigrant workers and their families fairly, leaving them worse off by not allowing them to purchase health coverage in the new exchanges created under the law.
Neither the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops nor MCC participated in these cases and took no position on the specific questions presented to the court. The bishops have not joined in efforts to repeal the law in its entirety, and do not do so today.
“It is as true as ever that the nation needs affordable health care reform that ensures universal access to health care, protects human life and dignity, and respects the rights of conscience of all,” said Bishop John Kinney of St. Cloud. “We call on Congress and the president to reform the ACA immediately so that it will protect the most vulnerable among us, as well as the conscience rights of those organizations and individuals who wish to care for the sick or ensure others have access to health care coverage.”
For more information, visit the MCC Religious Freedom advocacy page.