“With regard to the assault on the Catholic Church, let me make it absolutely clear,” Vice President Biden said last week in the middle of the debate. “No religious institution — Catholic or otherwise, including Catholic social services, Georgetown Hospital, Mercy Hospital, any hospital — none has to either refer contraception, none has to pay for contraception, none has to be a vehicle to get contraception in any insurance policy they provide. That is a fact. That is a fact.”
The U.S. Conference of Bishops, however, disagrees. Strongly. Last Friday, they released a letter uncovering the Vice President’s lie.
“This is not a fact,” the bishops wrote. “The HHS mandate contains a narrow, four-part exemption for certain ‘religious employers.’ ”
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops is the episcopal conference of the Catholic Church in the United States. It was founded in 1966 and is composed of all active and retired members of the Catholic hierarchy in the United States.
The letter explained that the White House did offer a proposal in February that would have put the responsibility of providing such drugs and services on the institution’s insurance companies. The offer, however, was rejected. Various Catholic institutions have filed close to fifty lawsuit in twelve federal courts across the nation.
“That exemption was made final in February and does not extend to ‘Catholic social services, Georgetown Hospital, Mercy Hospital, any hospital,’ or any other religious charity that offers its services to all, regardless of the faith of those served,” the bishops’ letter continued.