Today is the last day to voice your concerns with HHS of the lack of conscience protection over healthcare mandates to provide contraceptive and sterilization services. This is a huge, grave issue, and a threat to our first amendment rights--the free practice of religion. This is not a question of whether the use of use of contraceptives is morally permissible. This is not a debate about the morality of contraception, rather it is about our rights as American citizens. The issue is that our right of conscience is about to be violated on a large, legal, irrefutable scale. The right of conscience is fundamental to our understanding and protection of human liberty.
It is disappointing to me that the protest has largely been in only Catholic Circles. As far as I know, no major Christian communities have voiced their concerns over this. Though our churches may disagree on the morality of the use of contraceptives, that is not the question at hand. What is being violated is our right of conscience, which is a fundamental right upon which all the others are built. When a nation requires its individuals to do something they believe to be unjust or immoral, that nation is no longer free.
I encourage you all to write to Kathleen Siebelius and your representatives to urge her to pay attention to our long legal tradition of freedom of religion and conscience protection. It takes about two minutes. To find out how visit the USCCB.