HHS Issues Final Rule on Contraception Mandate

"Safe harbor" extended to Jan. 1, 2014.

Friday, June 28, 2013 1:58 PM Comments (6)

Today, the Department of Health and Human Services released the final rulemaking on the contraception mandate and religious organizations.

Legal experts are sifting through more than 100 pages of rulemaking to see if there is any breakthrough on the dispute between the Obama administration and religious employers that object to the mandate on moral grounds. The Becket Fund's website that provides updates on legal challenges to the mandate by for-profit and nonprofit plaintiffs is here

So far, today's news appears to offer only one limited reprieve that many anticated: The "safe harbor" deadline for compliance by religious employers that object to the mandate has been extended from...READ MORE

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Are We Rome -Yet?

Thursday, June 27, 2013 4:20 PM Comments (6)

A while back I read Cullen Murphy's Are We Rome? The Fall of an Empire and the Fate of America. which examined the similarities between the 21st century United States' overextended global role and ancient Rome's embitious effort to sustain its control of an unruly empire. Murphy also discussed the internal decadence that pervaded both empires, but that subject was not his primary focus.

Now, in the wake of the Supreme Court's decision striking down part of the Defense of Marriage Act and Justice Kennedy's majority opinion that attacked the "animus" of lawmakers that would deny marriage rights to same-sex couples, Victor Davis Hanson returns to this theme in a June 27 post on National...READ MORE

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Digesting the SCOTUS Rulings on Marriage

Wednesday, June 26, 2013 6:24 PM Comments (21)

Catholics who care about marriage and what it means for children and our culture are struggling to understand the future ramifications of the Supreme Court's rulings on Proposition 8 and the Defense of Marriage. 

At present, legal experts say that the rulings will have no immediate impact on state constitutional amendments barring same-sex "marriage." But Justice Scalia, in his sharply worded dissent to the majority opinion in DOMA argued that Justice Kennedy's opinion lays the foundation for future challenges to such laws. 

Hadley Arkes, a professor of jurisprudence at Amherst College and author of First Things, among other works, noted Justice Anthony Kennedy's opinion in DOMA and...READ MORE

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Cuomo’s Late-Term Abortion Bid Fails

Saturday, June 22, 2013 1:53 PM Comments (14)

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and abortion-rights allies in the New York Legislature worked for six months to set the stage for passage of his women's equality agenda, 10 planks that prominently included a bill that would  legalize late-term abortions.

The Albany Times Union reported that Cuomo’s bid failed on Friday, June 21, at 4pm, during a last-ditch effort in the New York Senate to attach an amendment legalizing late-term abortions to another bill. Republicans blocked the effort, and the legislative session ended without the passage of any part of the women's equality agenda.

"We don't have 32 pro-choice senators," state Sen. Diane Savino, a member of the Independent Democratic...READ MORE

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Media Watch: Eden Foods Boycott

Thursday, April 25, 2013 8:04 PM Comments (11)

This week, I reported on a Twitter campaign to boycott Eden Foods. The effort was launched after Michael Potter, the Catholic co-founder and president of the organic food company antagonized liberal commentators by suing the federal government over the HHS contraception mandate.  

Eden Foods worries that the boycott could affect the company’s bottom line – and maybe it will. But no one has provided data confirming who, precisely, is generating the furious tweets, though the “data mining” experts paid to deconstruct our Facebook and online shopping activity may well know the answer. 

But Sabrina Schaeffer, who heads the Independent Women’s Forum, just posted a timely report that points...READ MORE

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Gosnell to Blame for Obama Bailing on Planned Parenthood Gala?

Wednesday, April 24, 2013 4:24 PM Comments (2)

White House spokesman Jay Carney confirmed that President Obama has backed out of his commitment to deliver the keynote address at the April 25  Planned Parenthood gala, according to the Washington Times.

The Times reported that Carney said the president would instead spend more time at a memorial service in Waco, Texas, for family members of the victims of the fertilizer plant explosion.

The Times noted that the president will  

address Planned Parenthood and its supporters Friday morning. Still, the shift to a lower-profile address at a more low-key morning event, rather than an evening gala fundraiser, is significant.

The Susan B. Anthony List’s Marjorie Dannenfelser...READ MORE

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Media Watch:Obamacare Under Fire from Democrats

Tuesday, April 23, 2013 2:13 PM Comments (0)

While religious plaintiffs press legal challenges to the HHS contraception mandate, authorized under the Affordable Care Act, and Republicans call for its repeal, the White House’s struggles to implement major provisions of the law have drawn fire from its own vulnerable allies on Capitol Hill.

Last week, a striking exchange during an April 17 Senate hearing between Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Montana, a key author of the ACA, and HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, underscored the party’s deepening anxiety about whether the administration will meet its deadlines. And today, Baucus announced that he would not seek a seventh term, a decision that marked the challenges he...READ MORE

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Archbishop Chaput: 'Religious Freedom Should Be an Election-Year Issue'

Tuesday, November 15, 2011 6:37 PM Comments (18)

While some U.S. bishops have arrived a bit late to the battle on religious freedom, Archbishop Charles Chaput is already a veteran soldier in this fight. He is the author of Render Unto Caesar: Serving the Nation by Living our Catholic Beliefs in Political Life,  and is also a member of the new Committee on Religious Liberty.

When I asked him to name the most pressing issue at the 2011 USCCB meeting, he quickly said, ” the education of our faithful on the dangers to religious freedom. The so-called doctrine of the separation of church and state was established to protect the church from the state, and now it’s being employed for the opposite purpose.”

Catholics, he said, are “sometimes...READ MORE

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About Joan Frawley Desmond

Joan Frawley Desmond
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Joan Frawley Desmond, is the Register’s senior editor. She is an award-winning journalist widely published in Catholic, ecumenical and secular media. A graduate of the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies of Marriage and Family, she lives with her family in Menlo Park, Ca, in the San Francisco Archdiocese.