Erie Bishop Lawrence Persico is joining other bishops, nationwide, raising concerns about the government's revised health care mandate on contraception.
The Department of Health and Human Services announced new rules to deal with religious groups who don't want to off free contraceptives as part of the Affordable Care Act. Under the new changes, women who work for religious affiliated organizations, can get contraceptives through a third party insurer.
In a statement released on Thursday, Bishop Perisco says, "The exemption as presently formulated effects little, if any, substantive change. The government's definition of 'religious employer' is extremely narrow in that it defines 'freedom of religion' as little as more than 'freedom of worship.' Houses of worship are exempt, but religious organizations such as Catholic Charities, hospitals and colleges are not. I find equally troubling the fact that there is no conscience protection for employers who continue to be held bound to the mandate, under penalty, to act contrary to their faith and the teachings of their Church."
Last month, a lawsuit filed by the Erie Diocese, against the federal government, claimed the President's health care law was unconstitutional. It was eventually dismissed by a judge.