The HHS Mandate


Brother Knights,

Since the January 20th announcement by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) of the upcoming enforcement of regulations requiring mandatory coverage of contraceptives, sterilization, and abortion-inducing drugs with no conscience protection, State Deputy Dave Helmstetter and the Ohio State Council have received numerous requests for advice and guidance from councils across the state on how to respond to this alarming issue. As State Pro Life Director, the State Deputy asked me to provide guidance for members and local councils. With this in mind, I would first like to address what the edict means for Catholics and Catholic institutions, then provide resources to help guide your response to this edict in the hopes of overturning it.

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has written an article entitled, "Six Things Everyone Should Know About The HHS Mandate"  View it here: http://www.usccb.org/news/2012/12-021.cfm.  In summary:

Ø   The mandate does not exempt Catholic charities, schools, universities, or hospitals.

Ø   The mandate forces these institutions and others, against their conscience, to pay for things they consider immoral.

Ø   The mandate forces coverage of sterilization and abortion-inducing drugs and devices as well as contraception.

Ø   Catholics of all political persuasions are unified in their opposition to the mandate.

Ø   Many other religious and secular people and groups have spoken out strongly against the mandate.

Ø   The federal mandate is much stricter than existing state mandates.

So how do we, as loyal members of the Knights of Columbus, respond to this organized attack on our religious liberties? First of all, become informed, and then take action! Consider the following:

1.      1.  Learn how the USCCB has vowed to fight this coercive HHS mandate. Visit the Conscience Protection page at: http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/religious-liberty/conscience-protection/index.cfm. There, you will also be able to view a short video of USC.C.B. President Cardinal Timothy Dolan where he responds to a misleading February 1 blog post by the White House.

2.  Hear an incredibly powerful homily given on February 5 by Fr. Sammie L. Maletta, Jr., pastor of St. John the Evangelist Parish in St. John, Indiana. Fr. Sammie's thoughts cut right to the heart of the current crisis of religious liberty. This is one item you will definitely want to pass on to everyone you know! Hear it here: http://youtu.be/ltTd81XpDnc


3.      3. Watch an insightful video of Fr. Robert Barron as he comments on how anti-Catholic and un-American the HHS tactics are: http://www.wordonfire.org/WOF-TV/Commentaries-New/Fr-Barron-comments-on-the-HHS-Mandate.aspx.

4.      4. Visit the Supreme Council website: www.kofc.org. You will find some very informative articles and videos, e.g., an article by Supreme Chaplain Bishop William E. Lori entitled, Envisioning Religious Liberty. In it, Bishop Lori outlines how our U.S. bishops, assisted by the faithful, will work to combat current and future threats to religious freedom. You'll also find Supreme Knight Carl Anderson's February 15 op-ed piece in National Review Magazine entitled, The HHS Mandate: One Battle in a Two-Front War.

5.      5. Obtain a PDF copy of Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship from the U.S.C.C.B. at: www.faithfulcitizenship.org. It is chock full of ideas and suggestions, including how to contact your legislators in Washington in several different ways from writing letters to phone calls and even personal visits.

6.      6. Support the Respect for Rights of Conscience Act via an Action Alert from the National Committee for a Human Life Amendment (NCHLA). You can send an email to Congress here: http://www.nchla.org/actiondisplay.asp?ID=292.

7.      7. Sign up for future Action Alerts from the USCCB: http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/take-action-now/capwiz/capwiz-signup.cfm.

8.      8. Pass on the above information to all Catholics and members of other Christian denominations.

9.      9. Pray the following prayer for our elected officials and those affected by their work:

Gracious and loving God, let your Spirit be with us (me) today. Hear our (my) prayers, and increase in us (me) the will to follow your Son Jesus. Help us (me) to draw on the resources of our (my) faith as we (I) use the opportunities of our democracy to shape a society more respectful of the life, dignity, and rights of the human person, especially the poor and vulnerable. We (I) ask this through Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever.



Respectfully submitted,

Gary Anderson

State Pro-Life Director

February 24, 2012


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