WASHINGTON - Friday, it was the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops that answered vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan's debate question to Vice President Joe Biden, "Then why are the bishops suing you?"
During their debate Thursday night, a discussion over how their religion affects their beliefs on abortion, the topic of the HHS mandate came up, and Biden shrugged off concerns Ryan raised about the Obama Administration's Health and Human Services forcing Catholics to provide types of health care against which their religion teaches.
"No religious institution – Catholic or otherwise, including Catholic social services, Georgetown hospital, Mercy hospital, any hospital – none has to either refer contraception, none has to pay for contraception, none has to be a vehicle to get contraception in any insurance policy they provide. That is a fact," Mr. Biden said.
But the bishops are suing the Obama Administration over the HHS mandate and Friday they explained why Biden's claims about the Catholic church being exempt are false.
"That exemption was made final in February and does not extend to 'Catholic social services, Georgetown hospital, Mercy hospital, any hospital,' or any other religious charity that offers its services to all, regardless of the faith of those served," the bishops said.
"HHS has proposed an additional 'accommodation' for religious organizations like these, which HHS itself describes as 'non-exempt.' That proposal does not even potentially relieve these organizations from the obligation 'to pay for contraception' and 'to be a vehicle to get contraception.' They will have to serve as a vehicle, because they will still be forced to provide their employees with health coverage, and that coverage will still have to include sterilization, contraception, and abortifacients," the bishops wrote in a statement.
"They will have to pay for these things, because the premiums that the organizations (and their employees) are required to pay will still be applied,along with other funds, to cover the cost of these drugs and surgeries."
Both vice presidential candidates are life long Catholics.