EWTN vows to continue lawsuit against HHS mandate despite revisions
IRONDALE, AL, February 1, 2013, (LifeSiteNews.com) – An attempt by the Obama administration to quell opposition to the HHS birth control mandate with revised regulations released Friday morning appears to have failed.
The revisions, which purport to broaden the number of religious employers who can opt out of the mandate, have been widely panned by conservative groups as little more than an accounting gimmick. According to the critics, the regulations do little to protect religious employers, and even less to protect private employers who object to paying for contraception or abortion.
Now the country’s largest Catholic broadcaster, EWTN, has added its voice to the chorus opposing the revisions, vowing to push forward with its lawsuit against the mandate.
In a statement, Michael P. Warsaw, president and chief executive officer of EWTN, said it appears the new regulations will do nothing to protect the Catholic TV station from the mandate.
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“We have analyzed today’s notice with our legal team from the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty and the initial conclusions are not promising,” said Warsaw.
“First, this is simply a notice of a proposed rule; it is not an actual rule that changes anything," he said. “Second, while the proposed rules might expand the mandate’s religious exemption for some organizations affiliated directly with the Church, it does not appear that EWTN will qualify for this exemption.
“Third, the proposed rules have not dealt with the concerns of self-insured health plans like EWTN’s. Today’s notice from the government simply kicks this can further down the road,” he added.
Warsaw added that throughout the new regulations, “the government continues to make the erroneous assertion that contraception, sterilization and abortion-inducing drugs are health care. They are not."
Warsaw concluded saying he is “highly doubtful” that the new rules will provide EWTN with any relief from “this immoral mandate. EWTN remains firmly committed to pressing forward with our case in the Federal Courts and will take all steps necessary to challenge this unjust mandate.”
Nearly 50 lawsuits have been filed against the mandate by dozens of religious and secular employers.
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