Rep. McGovern Dodges Questions of Religious Freedom—At Religious Freedom Event

By Jon Street | December 6, 2012 | 6:40 PM EST

Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) (AP Photo)

( – At a news conference devoted to religious freedom, Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) said Obamacare’s HHS mandate, requiring all health insurance programs to cover sterilizations, contraceptives, and abortion-inducing drugs free of charge, “provides enough exceptions” for the Catholic Church, although only monasteries and churches are eligible for an exemption.

The mandate issued by the Department of Health and Human Services requires that all individuals purchase health insurance coverage for sterilizations, contraceptives, and abortion-inducing drugs regardless of what their faiths teach.

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At a Capitol Hill news conference announcing the beginning of the “Defending Freedoms” project, which aims to increase awareness and support for human rights and religious freedom, asked McGovern, “Should the Catholic Church obey this HHS mandate that the Conference of Catholic Bishops said they cannot and will not obey or should they obey the teachings of their own church?

“I think the law provides enough exceptions,” McGovern said. “I don’t think it’s an issue.” then asked, “What do you think about the lawsuit that’s going on with the Obama administration and—”

McGovern interrupted the question and stated, “I’m not a lawyer, so we’ll let that speak for itself?” tried to follow up as McGovern continued to walk away.

“Do you think that will hold up in court?” asked.

“Will the Catholic Church’s religious freedoms be infringed upon because of this lawsuit?”

“We’re done,” said McGovern.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has unanimously called the HHS mandate an “illegal and unjust law” that “cannot and will not” be obeyed. The Catholic Church teaches that the use or support of sterilizations, contraceptives, and abortion inducing drugs are morally and sinfully wrong.

As has previously reported, Catholic hospitals, schools, and businesses owned by Catholic individuals are not exempt from the mandate, leading the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to issue a statement calling the mandate an “unjust and illegal” mandate.

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