- U.S. Court of Appeals Grants MCC an Injunction Regarding HHS Mandate
- USCCB President Asks for Relief From HHS Mandate
- Sunday Marks Beginning of National Migration Week
U.S. Court of Appeals Grants MCC an Injunction Regarding HHS Mandate
Michigan Catholic Conference (MCC) is welcoming an injunction issued December 31, 2013 by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals that prevents MCC and its affiliates from having to choose between paying crippling fines or facilitating the provision of abortion-inducing drugs, sterilizations, and contraceptives to their employees. The order prohibits the government from enforcing the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' objectionable mandate against the MCC, its co-appellant and those Catholic entities that receive their health benefit from MCC pending further order from the court. While the decision is a preliminary ruling, and the merits of the case are soon to be considered, MCC is hopeful that the final disposition of this case will support religious freedom and rights of conscience.
USCCB President Asks for Relief From HHS Mandate
In late December, Archbishop Kurtz of Louisville, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, sent a letter to President Obama urging temporarily relief for religious institutions from crippling fines if they exclude sterilization, abortion-inducing drugs and contraceptives in their health insurance plans. With the start of the New Year, organizations such as church-sponsored universities, hospitals and social services face a fine of up to $100 per day if they provide health insurance without these objectionable services. Archbishop Kurtz also asked the President to consider that the U.S. Supreme Court already has agreed to hear two cases related to the mandate created by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). At least 90 cases have been brought to federal courts by individuals and institutions objecting to the imposition of the HHS mandate. Most of the decisions to date have favored those bringing suit. In his letter, Archbishop Kurtz wrote:
“I understand that legal issues in these cases will ultimately be settled by the Supreme Court. In the meantime, however, many religious employers have not obtained the temporary relief they need in time to avoid being subjected to the HHS mandate beginning January 1. I urge you, therefore, to consider offering temporary relief from this mandate, as you have for so many other individuals and groups facing other requirements under the ACA.”
To read the rest of the letter, click here. [Link no longer available —Ed.]
Sunday Marks Beginning of National Migration Week
On Sunday, January 5, dioceses around the country will be observing National Migration Week, a time of prayer and action aimed at easing the struggles of immigrants, migrants, human trafficking victims and other vulnerable populations. This year’s theme is “Out of the Darkness.” To learn more about the goals of the week and find materials, click here.
Saturday, January 11 is also designated as National Human Trafficking Awareness Day in the United States and has been recognized as such by the State of Michigan. If you are interested in participating in awareness and action efforts, here are a couple events around Michigan:
- For those in the Saginaw area, learn more about the Human Trafficking Awareness Day event [Link no longer available —Ed.] sponsored by the Office of Christian Service in the Diocese of Saginaw from 10 am to 2 pm. Registration is due January 6 by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
- For those in the Detroit area, the House of Help Community Center (23700 Clarita Avenue, Detroit, MI 48219) will be hosting an event called SOAP up Detroit Auto Show 2014 to place stickers with the National Human Trafficking Hotline number, 888-3737-888, on bars of soap as part of the S.O.A.P. initiative [Link no longer available —Ed.]. The soaps will then be delivered to hotels in the area to educate owners and staff on the signs of human trafficking before crowds come to the Auto Show in Detroit. The event will take place from 10 am to 3 pm.
Michigan Catholic Conference wishes you a Happy New Year!
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