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Bishops say HHS proposal violates religious freedom, ‘is bad medicine’

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WASHINGTON (CNS) — The chairmen of four U.S. bishops committees said July 27 that proposed regulations from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on abortion, transgender services and other procedures threaten the Catholic Church’s ability “to carry out our healing ministries” and others’ ability “to practice medicine.” They called the proposed regulations – a 308-page document released July 25 by HHS – “a violation of religious freedom and bad medicine.”

“They mandate health care workers to perform life-altering surgeries to remove perfectly healthy body parts,” the bishops said. “Assurances that HHS will honor religious freedom laws offer little comfort when HHS is actively fighting court rulings that declared HHS violated religious freedom laws the last time they tried to impose such a mandate.”

They added: “The proposed regulations announce that HHS is also considering whether to force health care workers to perform abortions against their will or lose their jobs. We call on HHS to explicitly disavow any such intent.”

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops released the joint statement from Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore, chairman, Committee on Pro-Life Activities; Archbishop Paul S. Coakley of Oklahoma City, chairman, Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development; Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone of San Francisco, chairman, Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth; and Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York, chairman, Committee for Religious Liberty.

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