Franciscan University stands firm in opposition against mandate

BY KATY SENOUR

Franciscan University of Steubenville’s opposition to the revised HHS mandate was readdressed by the school’s president on March 13.

After dropping its health insurance policies in May 2012, the Obama administration changed the policies of the HHS mandate. Franciscan finds the changes unsatisfactory due to its requirement of contraceptive coverage.

According to Breitbart News, the new proposals included allowing religiously affiliated hospitals and universities to be exempt from providing contraceptive coverage; insurance companies would deal directly with individual employees.

There was no attempt by Obama’s administration to exempt private, for-profit business owners who have religious objections to health insurance coverage they would be forced to provide that would violate their religious precepts.

The Rev. Terence Henry, TOR, said, “As a faithfully Catholic university, Franciscan University cannot facilitate this mandated coverage without violating Catholic Church teaching on the sanctity of human life and the purpose of marriage.”

Franciscan University will not change their former policies toward the HHS Mandate due to its lack of change to accomodate religious objections.

Henry addressed that this coverage directly contradicts Catholic teachings and moral beliefs.

“The proposed regulation will deny Franciscan University the freedom to exclude items that violate Church teaching and the consciences of our employees, the majority of whom choose to work at Franciscan specifically because of our faithfulness to the Catholic Church,” said Henry.

Not only does the mandate directly go against the morals of Franciscan, it disrupts an entire Franciscan community outside of Steubenville.

Henry said, “Far from alleviating our serious moral problem with the HHS mandate, the proposed accommodation thus would force us to play a key role in facilitating contraceptive coverage. From a moral standpoint, the proposed accommodation is no different than directly providing such coverage in our employee healthcare plan.”

An entire Franciscan community, including employees and businesses is disrupted by the mandates requirement fund abortion-inducing drugs.

“The proposed regulation also does not even attempt to protect the rights of the numerous conscientiously objecting individuals, for-profit or non-profit employers, insurers and third-party administrators,” said Henry. “Franciscan University has heard from alumni business owners and individuals who integrate their religious faith into their business practices and daily life and now find their heartfelt values dismissed out of hand by the HHS mandate’s contraceptive requirements.”

Franciscan asks that the Obama administration will do its job in protecting and upholding the constitutional right to freedom of religion including that of a right to life.

“As a Catholic university, Franciscan University not only has a responsibility to teach what the Church teaches about the dignity of human life and the right to life from conception to natural death, we must live out that teaching to the best of our ability,” said Henry. “We cannot and will not allow the HHS mandate to compromise our witness and our Catholic educational mission.”

Due to the precedent moral objectification of Franciscan University’s religious foundation, Franciscan University will not back the revisions to the HHS mandate.

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