Steven Bozza, director of the Respect Life Office at the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, has written a letter to the editor in the Philadelphia Inquirer about the HHS mandate and religious liberty.
In his letter, “Patient protection act poses serious threat to our autonomy,” he writes,
Throughout the existence of our nation, the right of every person to act according to his or her conscience has been written into federal and state laws and upheld by the courts. Our founders recognized that authentic freedom can only be achieved when the individual is able to actively pursue the truth and act in accord with the truth he or she has discovered.
Thomas Jefferson wrote, “[N]o provision in our Constitution ought to be dearer to man than that which protects the rights of conscience against the enterprises of the civil authority.”
The right of conscience is closely linked to autonomy. As humans, we have the capacity to make informed, uncoerced decisions about the actions we take. Autonomy is a fundamental and essential ethical principle in all our decision-making.
Until the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), the government has never attempted to violate these sacred and essential functions of the human intellect. Among the features of PPACA is a mandate for coverage of contraception and sterilization in almost all health plans in the United States regardless if that coverage violates the consciences of individual Americans, agencies, or business enterprises.
At first glance, mandated coverage of contraception and sterilization would seem to be of concern only to those among us who believe these practices are immoral. However, this mandate exposes a more sinister threat that has ramifications for all of us.
This mandate is a violation of the fundamental rights of conscience and autonomy. Thus, it puts a barrier to human freedom and in doing so, it denigrates human dignity.
Read the entire letter here.