This is not just a Catholic issue. Under the government’s new rules, religious organizations are free to serve the public only if they fulfill the government’s requirement to provide abortion-inducing drugs, contraceptives and sterilization. Organizations whose beliefs differ from this government-mandated orthodoxy have two options if they want to continue their mission of serving the public: abandon any belief that the government does not sanction, or uphold that belief and incur crippling fines. This issue should matter to anyone who believes there is room in the public square for people of all faiths — not just those faiths that pass some government test.
You may have heard that at one point the administration proposed an “accommodation” for organizations like ours, which would supposedly transfer the cost of providing the mandated coverage away from the employer and onto its insurance company, which would provide the coverage “for free.” Unlike the mandate itself, this proposal was never adopted into law, nor is it clear whether it will be. The so-called accommodation does not take into account those that are self-insured, like the Archdiocese of Washington, and in any case religious institutions would inevitably be forced to subsidize all of this through increased premiums or fees. Even if there were such a thing as free contraceptives, this isn’t about the money. This is about the government forcing us to violate our beliefs.