ROSLINDALE, Mass. (ChurchMilitant.com) - A Massachusetts Catholic group is fighting increased access to birth control. On November 20, The Catholic Action League of Massachusetts issued a news release criticizing a new law extending employer-subsidized contraception. The law is a direct response to President Trump's October executive order rolling back the HHS Contraceptive Mandate, and won't protect most religious employers in Massachusetts.
"This is special interest legislation, originating with and promoted by Planned Parenthood," said C.J. Doyle, Executive Director of the Catholic Action League, in remarks to Church Militant. "Maximizing contraceptive use advances their abortion business. This measure also has, for Planned Parenthood, the added benefit of punishing their opponents in the Catholic Church."
President Trump issued an executive order in May instructing the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to protect the Little Sisters of the Poor and other religious organizations from the HHS Mandate, which forced them to participate in contraception coverage against their religious beliefs. This came a year after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Little Sisters and against the Obama administration. The HHS Contraeptive Mandate originated under the Obama administration in 2012.
Trump's May executive order did not address the major threats against religious liberty in the United States, however, which his October 6 order met. Religious organizations now no longer have to violate their conscience and moral and religious beliefs by being forced to participate in a contraceptive regime for staff.
The Massachusetts bill in response to Trump passed the State House of Representatives by a majority vote of 138–16 on November 8. The State Senate passed the measure as well, voting 27–0 on November 13.
Doyle explained to Church Militant the reason for passage of the law is "because Planned Parenthood supporters enjoy overwhelming majorities in both branches of the Legislature."
The former governor of Massachusetts, Deval Patrick, whose fact sheet from 2012 detailed state laws concerning access to contraception, admitted that "the narrow religious exemptions to the existing law — which will be continued under this new law — will not apply to most religious employers." In other words, the majority of faith-based employers will enjoy no protections to their religious freedom if they object to providing contraception to employees.
Birth control is legal, inexpensive and ubiquitously available in Massachusetts. It has been a mandatory part of employer sponsored group health insurance since 2002, and has been subsidized, for those meeting income guidelines, since Commonwealth Care began in 2006. ... Under this new law, those who have moral objections to contraceptives, abortifacients, and sterilizations will be compelled, in violation of their consciences, to subsidize, at an expanded level, procedures and practices which they find abhorrent.
Catholic legislators who support Planned Parenthood not only know that they will never suffer any ecclesiastical sanction, but they will confidently run for re-election every two years knowing that they will never hear a word of rebuke from a prelate or a pulpit, read a critical article about their apostasy in a diocescan newspaper, or even watch a candid discussion of their voting record on a Catholic television station.