This weekend, a time-sensitive request will hopefully run in our parish bulletins. This Nationwide Bulletin Insert is seeking the active input of our Catholic population.  As most of you hopefully know by now, our U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently issued a rule requiring almost all private health plans to cover contraception and sterilizations as “preventive services” for women.  This action is a part of implementing the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (the new health care reform law).

This new rule so narrowly defines religous exemption from the rule that very few entities will qualify for the exemption.  Meaning, the Catholic Church, its parishes, colleges, hospitals, will not be exempt from this new rule.  The rule will also require insurance plans to cover “all Food and Drug Administration approved contraceptive methods, sterilization procedures, and patient education and counseling for all women with reproductive capacity.” 

The public comment period on this interim final rule ends September 30.  If you wish to view more information, and learn how to contact HHS as well as your local representatives in Congress, you may view more information through our U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops website here.  You will find here the same information the bulletin insert will lead you. 

Please help us voice our objections to participate in this new ruling.  Go to the USCCB website in the link provided above, or simply follow the instructions provided in your parish bulletin insert this weekend.  Remember, you must act before the end of September 30.

Thank you,