published Sunday, August 14th, 2011

Belated 'details' of ObamaCare

The United States has many religiously affiliated hospitals that provide excellent service to patients of all faiths. But some have discovered to their alarm that ObamaCare, which was signed into law last year, may force them to violate their own religious principles.

Catholic hospitals supported ObamaCare while it was being debated in Congress. But now, they are understandably distressed to learn that the socialized medicine law may require them to dispense birth control to their employees, in violation of Catholic teachings.

The Obama administration has proposed a so-called "conscience clause" that is supposed to address such matters and not force hospitals to violate their beliefs. But when the Catholic Health Association started looking at the specifics of the clause, it found that Catholic hospitals could still be forced to provide birth control to their workers.

The organization says the conscience clause would really only exempt Catholic churches -- not Catholic hospitals -- from the requirement. That exemption is basically meaningless, because most churches of whatever denomination do not give out birth control in the first place.

The conscience clause has not been finalized, so it may yet be broadened to let hospitals maintain their principles. It certainly should be. ObamaCare is going to have a large, negative impact on our nation as it is. That sad reality should not be made worse by forcing health care providers to compromise their most fundamental values and beliefs.

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