Staten Island's Rep. Michael Grimm slams Obama health care mandate as 'anti-Catholic'
Billing himself as a pro-life member of Congress, Rep. Michael Grimm joined colleagues today in blasting an "anti-Catholic Obamacare mandate" that would have religious organizations which offer health insurance covering the costs of contraceptives, sterilizations and abortifacients.
In a letter to U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Grimm and 21 House members voiced their "strong opposition" to the mandate they say will "force" religious-affiliated groups that provide health insurance to their employees to offer reproductive options "even if it is a clear violation of their conscience rights."
The mandate kicks in next year to groups that receive government funding.
Grimm (R-Staten Island/Brooklyn) and the others noted that during a public comment period, HHS received more than 200,000 comments, with many citing that the "narrow scope" of the religious exemption, issued last August, would only apply to places of worship.
"Countless other religious-affiliated organizations, such as schools, hospitals and even religious charities, are not protected under this exemption," said Grimm.
And citing the recently granted one-year compliance extension, they pointed to the words of Cardinal-designate Timothy Dolan, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops: "In effect, the president is saying we have a year to figure out how to violate our conscience."
Added Grimm: "As a Roman Catholic, I strongly believe in preserving the sanctity of human life, and this mandate completely violates that belief. I will not tolerate the Obama administration's efforts to challenge the conscience and reproductive rights of the Catholic Church, and will do all I can to ensure that this mandate is overturned. As Americans, we are fortunate to have the right to exercise our religious beliefs, free of government intervention, and this case is no exception."
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