CUA president pens columns about HHS mandate

CUA President John Garvey     (CNS photo/Nancy Wiechec)

John Garvey, president of The Catholic University of America in Washington, has been writing a fair amount on the contraceptive mandate in the new health care reform law.

He wrote an op-ed piece in the May 25 edition of The Washington Post and a commentary in the June 8 edition of The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Both columns outlined why Catholic University recently joined 42 Catholic dioceses, schools, hospitals, social service agencies and other institutions in filing suit in federal court to stop three government agencies from implementing a mandate that would require them cover contraceptives and sterilization in their health plans.

Catholic organizations have objected to the contraceptive mandate since it was announced last Aug. 1 by Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Unless they meet the four criteria of a narrow religious exemption or have a grandfathered health plan, employers will be required to pay for sterilizations and contraceptives as part of their health coverage beginning as soon as Aug. 1, 2012. Religiously affiliated institutions will be given an additional year — by August 2013 — to comply with the mandate.

Garvey, writing for the Chronicle, noted that if the federal government had provided a “genuine accommodation” to Catholic organizations with the health care law, it could have attained its goals “while respecting fully the constitutionally protected rights of our universities to remain true to our founding missions: the development of intellect and the inculcation of virtue.”

“Barring that, we feel compelled to seek relief from the courts,” he wrote.

In the Post, Garvey said Catholic institutions that filed suit against the HHS mandate “object that the rules force them to support activities — sterilization and abortion, in addition to contraception — that they view as immoral. It’s like compelling Jehovah’s Witnesses to salute the flag, or Quakers to fight or Jews to eat pork.”

UPDATE: Pittsburgh Bishop David A. Zubik has written a similar commentary in USA Today that appeared yesterday. He also co-wrote a June 8 column in the Pittsburgh Catholic, the diocesan newspaper, discussing the reason for the lawsuits.

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2 Responses to CUA president pens columns about HHS mandate

  1. Duane Lamers says:

    At last we have the head of a major Catholic university taking on the current White House regime. We take note that the “esteemed” Jesuit university in DC, Georgetown, saw fit to invite Kathleen Sebelius to address its graduates at its most recent commencement.

    With friends like Georgetown in the Catholic community, who needs enemies?

    Thank you, Dr. Garvey, for joining other true leaders in bringing the Obama regime into court.

  2. Mikhail Ramendik says:

    I am Protestant. I strongly disagree with Roman Catholic “theology of the body” and believe contraception to be a blessed and proper gift of God, as are many other medical and related tools.

    However, I do not support or even understand the proponents of the mandate.

    They are willing to enrol in Roman Catholic universities, where they are taught based on a theology they (and I) strongly reject. Yet they want them to accommodate their own views in insurance. They don’t let Rome control the bodies, but they are all right with Rome controlling their brain?!

    I suggest they follow their conscience and choose institutions where the philosophy does not exclude proper respect for their bodily integrity.

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