Sister Carol Keehan then! Yikes!
Sister Carol Keehan now! At least symbolically!
This is lifted from "Whispers in the Loggia" blog:
Friday, June 15, 2012
Sr Carol to White House: The "Accommodation" Is "Unacceptable"
In a conspicuous turnabout, the trade-group representing the nation's Catholic hospitals has said it is "deeply concerned with the approach" taken by the Obama administration to its proposed contraceptive mandate, and called for the Department of Health and Human Services to "instead use an expanded definition to exempt from" the new policy "not only churches, but also Catholic hospitals, health care organizations and other ministries of the church."
Coming in a five-page letter sent today by the Catholic Health Association to a top HHS administrator, the move (including draft proposals for an acceptable revision of the controversial Federal rule) follows months of public tension and quiet discussions between the US hierarchy and the association representing some 2,000 health-care facilities under the auspices of the Stateside church after the group's president, Daughter of Charity Sister Carol Keehan, voiced her approval of the White House's February "accommodation" on the plan, which the bishops deemed as being insufficient.
Today's letter was signed by Keehan and CHA's immediate past and present board chairs.
Previously, CHA supported the passage of the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act over the bishops' objections to the law's treatment of funding coverage for abortions. In appreciation for the role the association's campaign played in the bill's enactment, President Obama famously gave Keehan one of the pens he used to sign the sweeping Federal health-care reform into law.
On the initial announcement of the contraceptive policy in January, however, the CHA president backed the bishops, calling the White House proposal "a missed opportunity to be clear on appropriate conscience protection."
In the wake of that statement, even the New York Times noted that the administration's subsequent undertaking to find an agreeable middle ground "was for" Keehan, who "had told the White House that" as originally proposed, "the new rule... went too far."
"The more we learn," CHA said in today's letter, "the more it appears that the [mandate's] approaches for both insured and self-insured plans would be unduly cumbersome and would be unlikely to adequately meet the religious liberty concerns of all of our members and other church ministries."
"The exemption in the final rule is narrower than any conscience clause ever enacted in federal law and reflects an unacceptable change in federal policy regarding religious beliefs."
Notably, the CHA intervention stopped short of endorsing the extension of an exemption from the mandate to private business owners who object to it on conscience grounds -- the so-called "Taco Bell" clause, as coined by the USCCB general counsel, Anthony Picarello. According to reports, the bishops signaled a movement away from insisting upon the ad extra plank during their closed-door executive session at this week's plenary meeting in Atlanta, despite the clause's evolution into a cause celebre among the US church's conservative wing.
The public comment period on the policy set to end next week, the association's letter comes on the eve of the Fortnight for Freedom called by the nation's bishops to protest the mandate's implications for religious liberty. It likewise arrives less than a month after 43 church entities -- led by the archdioceses of New York and Washington and the University of Notre Dame -- filed suit in a dozen Federal courts seeking an overturn of the HHS rule.