PRESS RELEASE: Catholics United Recognizes Silver Lining in HHS Ruling

Posted January 20, 2012

Washington DC – Today the Department of Health and Human Services issued a final ruling on the scope of the religious exemption for contraceptive services under the Affordable Care Act of 2010. Today's ruling requires Catholic institutions to provide their employees with access to contraceptive services. Despite the Catholic Church's teaching that contraception should not be used to prevent pregnancy, 98% of sexually active Catholic women use some form of birth control.

On a conference call with faith leaders ahead of today's ruling, Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor to the President, announced that the administration was still open to working with religious institutions in drafting a win-win solution, known as the 'Hawaii' framework, that would allow women access to contraception coverage while not requiring employers to provide the service directly.

Catholics United's executive director, James Salt, issued the following statement in response to today's ruling:

“Although we recognize the authority of Catholic teaching on the issue of contraception, we also acknowledge that there is a silver lining in today's ruling. Increased access to contraceptive services will dramatically reduce the abortion rate in America. Reducing abortion should be a goal recognized by both sides of this highly polarized debate. Furthermore, we look forward to working with the administration in finding a win-win solution that will both meet the medical needs of women while protecting the religious liberty of Catholic institutions.”

For more information on the balance between religious liberty and mandated access to contraceptive services in Hawaii, read:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/on-faith/post/seeking-a-win-win-solution-for-hhs-regulations/2011/10/07/gIQAff6eSL_blog.html