Dec 1, 2012 No Comments ›› Pat Dollard
Excerpted from CNS News: House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who is Catholic, indicated on Friday that she supports forcing St. Mary’s Medical Center, a Catholic hospital in her San Francisco-based congressional district, to provide health plans to its workers that cover sterilizations, contraceptives and abortion-inducing drugs free of charge even though the Catholic faith says the hospital may not to so because these things are intrinsically immoral.
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, who is also a Catholic, issued the sterilization-contraception-abortifacient mandate as a regulation under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, AKA Obamacare.
President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama touted the regulation in many stump speeches during the recent campaign, saying that health plans would now be required to provide women with cost-free contraception.
The Catholic bishops of the United States unanimously endorsed a statement in June declaring the regulation an “unjust and illegal mandate.” Many of the bishops had letters read to parishioners at Sunday Masses saying of the regulation: “We cannot–we will not–comply with this unjust law.”
Bill Cox, head of the health care alliance that oversees St. Mary’s, said the mandate is an “egregious encroachment by the federal government on the constitutionally protected authority of the church.”
At the Capitol on Friday, CNSNews.com asked Pelosi: “Should St. Mary’s hospital, which is a Catholic institution in San Francisco, should it be required by the administration to provide its workers with a health plan that covers sterilization and contraception and abortifacients and [other] things that it disagrees with?”
Pelosi said, “I support the action taken by the president–the compromise, I think, is a reasonable one.”
Bill Cox, president and CEO of the Alliance for Catholic Health Care, which operates 54 hospitals in California, including St. Mary’s, told CNSNews.com, “There was no ‘compromise.’”
CNSNews.com asked Pelosi at her press briefing on Thursday: “In August, HHS issued a proposed regulation under the new health care law that would require that all health care plans cover sterilizations and all FDA-approved contraceptives. The U.S. Catholic bishops have called the regulation an unprecedented attack on religious freedom and have asked HHS to drop it. Do you agree with the bishops?”
Noting that she is “a devout Catholic,” Pelosi said she sometimes disagrees with the Catholic bishops when they act as “lobbyists.”