John Feehery, a former Republican Capitol Hill staffer who now works for a Republican media outfit, has an article up at The Hill regarding the issue of conscience protections currently being formulated by the Department of Health & Human Services. He wonders why the Obama Administration would risk alienating Catholic swing voters.
That is a good question, but Feehery is not very good at reporting the issue. He writes: "At issue is a new government mandate that Catholic hospitals provide contraception services, a mandate that directly contravenes church teachings." No, actually, what is at issue is whether or not Catholic institutions, including colleges and universities, social service agencies, and hospitals too, would have to purchase insurance for their employees that includes coverage for contraceptive services.
Feehery also fails to note that the HHS sent out a second call for comments on the new rule. Nothing has been decided as far as I can tell, and regular readers will know I have been following this issue pretty carefully and have not been shy in voicing my opinion.
The idea that Catholic institutions would be forced to purchase insurance that includes coverage for morally objectionable procedures is a big issue and it should be handled with care. Sad to say, the editors at the Hill, and Mr. Feehery, are not even sure what the issue is.