Bishop Salvatore Cordileone “This is a Pivotal Moment”
Oakland’s Bishop Salvatore Cordileone says the federal government could require faith communities to offer abortion as a health benefit if the contraceptive mandate is not stopped.
“If this goes through there is nothing to stop the government requiring faith communities to cover abortion in their insurance packages,” Oakland Bishop Salvatore Cordileone told Vatican Radio.
“This is, I think, a pivotal moment in the United States and in the life of the Catholic Church in the United States,” Bishop Cordileone said.
The remarks were part of a wide-ranging interview on religious liberty in the United States.
The concern about abortion as a mandated benefit is shared by the executive director of the California Catholic Conference, Ned Dolejsi, who predicted a push to mandate abortion as a health benefit in California after the U.S. Supreme Court rules on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The ruling is expected in June. The health care act requires each individual to purchase health insurance.
“If the federal Affordable Act is struck down, we can expect the action to shift to the states,” said Dolejsi.
In January the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services issued a regulation that would require all but very narrowly defined organizations to offer free contraception. The U.S. bishops are united in fighting the regulation as an infringement on religious liberty.
Part of the compromise that secured March 2010 passage of the contested federal health care overhaul is a requirement that each state offer at least one “abortion-free” health plan. Without that requirement, it is possible California will require all insurance plans to offer abortion as a benefit, Dolejsi said in a March interview with Catholic San Francisco.