Here is a decisive moment, especially for those of us who have been largely supportive of the Obama administration, and especially of the ACA. A few weeks ago, when several Catholic organizations filed suit against the HHS mandate, some denounced the suits and questioned the motives of Fr. John Jenkins and Cardinal Donald Wuerl and others. Now, the question must be posed to them: Do you really, really think that Sr. Carol’s conclusion that the accommodations are unworkable can be dismissed or ignored?
Professor Stephen Schneck, of Catholic University’s Institute for Policy Research & Catholics Studies, quickly answered that question in the negative and sided with CHA. “Morally, the distance that the accommodations offered to conscience concerns for religious institutions such as hospitals, charities, and universities was theoretically sufficient,” Schneck wrote in a statement. “I supported the accommodations initially for that reason. However, in recent weeks it's become clear that the practical difficulties of maintaining that distance were far too onerous for the accommodations to work.”
Like Keehan, Schneck reaffirmed his support for the ACA. “I remain completely supportive of the intentions of the Affordable Care Act. But all religious institutions--including religious hospitals, charities, and universities--should be allowed complete exemption from its contraception mandate. Several workable fixes to this policy problem have been suggested by many who are friendly to the Affordable Care Act. I encourage the administration to consider them.” It is noteworthy as well that the USCCB, which opposed the passage of the ACA has never once called for its repeal but instead has advocated that any objectionable parts, like the HHS mandate, be fixed.