New York State Bishops Statement on mandates for immoral services

Published on January 29th, 2001

We, the Catholic Bishops of New York State, issue jointly this statement in support of the preservation of religious conscience protection in any legislation mandating health insurance coverage for contraception or morally objectionable infertility procedures.

Our nation was founded upon the principle that those choosing to live by religious faith do so free from the unwarranted intrusion of government. We can think of no governmental action at this time so unwarranted or intrusive as the requirement that religiously-affiliated employers or insurers pay for or provide coverage for procedures which violate the tenets of their religious faith.

The same faith which motivates us to care for the sick and the dying, to educate children, and to defend the poor and forgotten is also the basis for our moral teachings. A law which would compel us to do what we sincerely believe is morally wrong violates our free exercise of religion and undermines all that we do in the name of faith.

The ability of religion to function freely, as protected by the Constitution of the United States of America and the Constitution of the State of New York, rests now on the shoulders of public officials willing to rise to the defense of the common good. We urge our elected officials to reject the arguments of those who would discriminate against faith and religious practice in our culture and to hold firm to those principles upon which this nation was founded.

These principles are fundamental to our society, a bedrock for our democracy.

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