A Catholic political action committee has released a video ad asking supporters to call upon lawmakers to pass an amendment that would roll back a recent decision by the Obama administration requiring insurance providers — with the exception of religious employers — to cover birth control as a preventive service. Critics say the amendment will allow an insurance company to exclude coverage of any health service that they deem violates their religious or moral convictions.
Catholic Advocate PAC is a group that has been opposed to the mandate since the federal government first announced it was considering requiring insurers to cover contraception across the board. In a press release yesterday, the group announced that they have “launched their latest effort to defend religious liberty by calling on people of faith to support the Respect for Rights of Conscience act through a web video.”
The group’s video, entitled, “Consultation,” is aimed at garnering support for a bill (S. 1467, H.R. 1179) sponsored by Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., which is facing potential activity in Congress in coming weeks. The bill is being referred to as the Blunt Amendment.
Civil rights groups, women’s health organizations, and even spokesmen for the White House have been warning of the extreme nature of the Blunt amendment as it makes its way through Congress.
The American Civil Liberties Union has said the bill would threaten “coverage for maternity care, testing for HIV, mental health services,” and “screening for cervical cancer.” The group says that the Blunt Amendment “is just the first of what we expect to be many similar attacks.”
“We have to recognize these attacks for what they are — blatant attempts to redefine religious liberty as the ability to impose one’s religious beliefs and convictions on other people,” said the ACLU, in an alert to supporters.
The Catholic Advocate PAC is among many Catholic groups that have long voiced opposition to the Obama administration’s decisions. The group launched attack ads aimed at Obama as far back as last October.
A group that is affiliated with Catholic Advocate PAC, the Catholic Advocate Candidate Fund, has ties to another U.S. Senator that has introduced legislation aimed at reversing the decision: Sen. Marco Rubio. The group, according to its website, helps “elect pro-life, pro-family candidates through direct support to endorsed candidates, ‘bundled donations’ from members of the Catholic Advocate community that are sent to the candidates, and select independent campaign activities to help turn out the vote for pro-life, pro-family candidates.” Rubio is among the handful of candidates the group has endorsed to receive those bundled donations.
Last month, Rubio introduced the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (S. 2043) which would reverse the birth control mandate.
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has also been lobbying for federal lawmakers to pass the Respect for Rights of Conscience Act.
Polls have found that 66 percent of Americans agree with the federal government’s decision to include birth control in its list of preventative services. Furthermore, according to research conducted by the Guttmacher Institute, about “98 percent of sexually active Catholic women have used contraceptive methods banned by the church.”
Watch the Catholic Advocate PAC’s new ad below: