USCCB Catholic Leaders Protect Conscience Rights Open Letter

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Protect conscience rights.

Catholic Organizations Respond to HHS “Preventive Services” Mandate (see full letter here)

We, the undersigned, strongly support access to life-affirming health care for all, and the ability of secular and religious groups and individuals to provide and receive such care. That is why we have raised objections to a rule issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services forcing almost all private health plans to cover sterilization procedures and contraceptive drugs, including drugs that may cause an early abortion. As written, the rule will force Catholic organizations that play a vital role in providing health care and other needed services either to violate their conscience or severely curtail those services. This would harm both religious freedom and access to health care.

The HHS mandate puts many faith-based organizations and individuals in an untenable position. But it also harms society as a whole by undermining a long American tradition of respect for religious liberty and freedom of conscience. In a pluralistic society, our health care system should respect the religious and ethical convictions of all. We ask Congress, the Administration, and our fellow Americans to acknowledge this truth and work with us to reform the law accordingly.

Louis J. Agnese, Jr, PhD
President
University of the Incarnate Word

Robert B. Aguirre
President
Catholic Association
of Latino Leaders

Aaron K. Alton
President/CEO
SMP Health Care System

Carl A. Anderson
Supreme Knight
Knights of Columbus

Tony Aretz, PhD
President
College of Mount St. Joseph

Mercedes Arzu Wilson
President/Founder
Family of the Americas Foundation

Jodi Atkinson
President/CEO
St. Andrews Health Center

Andy Bagnall
President/CEO
St. Nicholas Hospital

Rev. William Beauchamp, CSC
President
University of Portland

John Bertini
Chairman of Board of Directors
St. Joseph Medical Center

F. DeKarlos Blackmon, OblSB
Supreme Knight/CEO
Knights of Peter Claver

Lee Boyles
Adminstrator
Oakes Community Hospital

Timothy N. Burchill
President/CEO
Ave Maria Village

Davide M. Carbone, FACHE
CEO
St. Mary’s Medical Center

William Carroll, PhD
President
Benedictine University

Christiane Chagnon
International Regent
Daughters of Isabella

Arturo Chavez, PhD
President/CEO
Mexican American Catholic College

Craig Christianson
President/CEO
Sheyenne Care Center

Joan Coffman
President/CEO
St. Joseph’s Hospital

Tom Conklin
Executive Director
Catholic Family Services – Saginaw

Michael D. Connelly
President/CEO
Catholic Health Partners

William J. Cox
President/CEO
Alliance of Catholic Health Care

Rev. Mark T. Cregan, CSC
President
Stonehill College

Christopher Dadlez
President/CEO
Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center

John Damiani, DO
President
Christus Medicus Foundation

Barbara Q. Decker
President
Mercy College of Health Sciences

Faye Deich
Interim President/CEO
Sacred Heart Hospital
Mariann Doeling, RN
Administrator
Carrington Health Center

James F. Ennis
Executive Director
National Catholic Rural Life Conference

Robert Erickson
President/CEO
St. Francis Health Center

Marianne Evans Mount, PhD
President
Catholic Distance University

Amy Falk
Executive Director
Caritas Clinics, Inc

Nancy Farnham
CEO
Maryhill Manor

Thomas Flynn, PhD
President
Alvernia University

Matthew Fox
President/CEO
Alexian Village of Tennessee

Jon Frantsvog
Administrator/CEO
St. Benedict’s Health Center & Benedict Court

Rev. Al Fritsch S.J.
Director
Earth Healing Inc.

Rose Fuller
Executive Director
Northwest Family Services

Karen Gabbert
Administrator
St. Gerard’s Community Nursing Home

Brother James Gaffney
President
Lewis University

Michael Galligan-Stierle, PhD
President /CEO
Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities

Sr. Marcella Marie Garus, CSSF
President
Villa Maria College

John Garvey, JD
President
The Catholic University of America

Sheila Gilbert
President
National Council of the U.S. Society of St. Vincent de Paul

Christopher Godfrey, JD
President
Life Athletes, Inc.

John Grahm
President/CEO
St. Mary’s of Michigan

Sr. Kathy Green, RSM
President
Sisters of Mercy

Steve Grinnell
CEO
Lourdes Hospital

John M. Haas, PhD, STL
President
National Catholic Bioethics Center

Ken Hackett
President
Catholic Relief Services

Tony C. Hanson
Administrator/CEO
Prince of Peace Care Center

Robert C. Helmer, JD, PhD
President
Lourdes University

Jan R. Hemstad, MD
President
Catholic Medical Association

Cheryl A. Hettman, PhD, RN
President
National Association of Catholic Nurses

Keith E. Heuser, FACHE, CNHA, FACHCA
Administrator
Mercy Hospital of Valley City

Rev. Larry Hostetter
President
Brescia University

Richard Houck
President
Catholic Defense League

David Huber
President
Catholic Order of Foresters

John J. Hurley
President
Canisius College

Paul B. Hurley, Jr., PhD
President
Trocaire College

William D. Huston
President
St. Catharine College

Robert Issai
President/CEO
Daughters of Charity Health System

Mary Pat Jahner
Director
St. Gianna’s Maternity Home

Tammy A. Jangula
Administrator
Manor St. Joseph

Rev. John Jenkins, CSC
President
University of Notre Dame

Patty Johnson
President
National Council of Catholic Women

Kevin Kast
President/CEO
St. Mary’s Hospital

Jerome Kearns
Executive Director
Our Sunday Visitor Institute

James Kinyon
Executive Director
Catholic Social Services –
Rapid City

Sr. Jane Marie Klein, OSF
Chairperson of the Board Franciscan Alliance, Inc.

Mark Klosterman
President/CEO
St. Joseph’s Hospital

Al Kresta
Chairman, President/CEO
Ave Maria Radio

Sr. Elise Kriss, OSF
President
University of Saint Francis

Sr. Rose Marie Kujawa
President/CEO
Madonna University

Steven LaNasa
President
Donnelly College

Sr. Joyce Lehman, CPPS
President
Sisters of the Precious Blood

Rev. Joseph Levesque, CM, STD, LHD
President
Niagara University

Paule Anne Lewis
President
San José Clinic

James G. Lindsay
Executive Director
Catholic Volunteer Network

John P. Loes, MD
Medical Director
Anoka Area Family Medicine Clinic

Michael A. MacDowell
President
Misericordia University

Rev. Kevin E. Mackin, OFM
President
Mount Saint Mary College

Michael D. Manhart, PhD
Executive Director
Couple to Couple League International

Curtis Martin
President
FOCUS (Fellowship of Catholic
University Students)

Tessa Martinez Pollack, PhD
President
Our Lady of the Lake University

John May
CEO/Administrator
Villa St. Francis

James May
President/CEO
Mercy Health

John McCabe
Administrator
CHRISTUS St. Catherine Hospital

Joseph McDonald
President/CEO
Catholic Health System

Jeremy McNeil
President
Catholic Professional & Business Group

Sonia Mehta, MD
President/CEO
HSHS Medical Group

Sr. M. Angela Mellady, OSF
Provincial Superior
Sisters of St. Francis of Perpetual Adoration

Stephen L. Mikochik, JD
Chair
National Catholic Partnership on Disability

Gary P. Miller
President/CEO
St. Alexius Medical Center

Sr. Sharon Miller, GHMS
President
Glenmary Sisters, Owensboro

Mary Elizabeth Miller, SCN
President
Sisters of Charity of Nazareth

Steve Minnis
President
Benedictine College

Sr. Mary Margaret Mooney, PBVM
President
Sisters of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Tom Mulhern
Executive Director
Catholic Community Services of Lane County

Sr. Anne Munley, IHM
President
Marywood University

Linda Nelsen
Administrator/CEO
Benedictine Living Community of St. Peter

Jennifer Nolan
President/CEO
Our Lady of Peace Hospital

Randall Nyp
President/CEO
Providence Medical Center & Saint Joseph Hospital

The Very Rev. Bernard O’Connor
President
DeSales University

Christopher O’Connor
President/CEO
Saint Raphael Healthcare System

Sr. Therese O’Rourke, IHM
President
Congregation, Sisters Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary

Therese Pandl
President/CEO
St. Mary’s Hospital Medical Center, St. Vincent Hospital & St. Nicholas Hospital

Mike Panka
Chairman of the Board
Divine Providence Health Center

James S. Parobek
President/CEO
Sts. Mary &Elizabeth Hospital

Michael Pascucci
Chairman of the Board
Telecare

Jeff Pederson
President/CEO
Villa Nazareth, Friendship Inc. and Riverview Place
Thomas Permetti
Administrator
CHRISTUS St. John Hospital

Dan Perryman
President/CEO
St. Francis Hospital

Michael Pfeifer
President/CEO
Presentation Medical Center & Villa Maria

Matthew Pinto
President
Ascension Press

Jack E. Pohrer, GCM
President
Order of Malta, American Association, U.S.A.

James W. Pope
President/CEO
Sylvania Franciscan Health

Andrea R. Price, FACHE
President/CEO
Mercy Hospital – Northern Region

Steve Przybilla
Administrator/CEO
St. Gabriel’s Community

Rev. Kevin P. Quinn, S.J.
President
University of Scranton

James P. Reber
President/CEO
St. Rita’s Health Partners

Maryann Reese
President/CEO
St. Elizabeth’s Hospital
Reed E. Reyman
President/CEO
St. Joseph’s Hospital and Health Center

F. Dennis Riegelnegg, EdD
President
Saint Joseph’s College

Karen M. Ristau, EdD
President
National Catholic Educational Association

Bob Ritz
President/CEO
St. John’s Hospital
Sr. Denise A. Roche, GNSH
President
D’Youville College

Laura Jordan Roesch, MRC, LSW, LPC
Executive Director
Catholic Social Services of the Miami Valley

Myriam Ruager
Executive Director
Chester County Women’s Services Medical

Austin Ruse
President
Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute (C-Fam)

Rev. John J. Ryan, CSC
President
King’s College

Sr. Cecilia Sartorius, LSP
Administrator
Little Sisters of the Poor

Peggy Sebastian
President/CEO
St. Joseph’s Hospital

Rev. James P. Shea
President
University of Mary

Geralyn C. Shelvin
Supreme Lady
Knights of Peter Claver
Ladies Auxiliary

Rev. Larry Snyder
President
Catholic Charities USA

Mary Starmann-Harrison
President/CEO
Hospital Sisters Health System (HSHS)

Colleen Steele
Administrator
St. Joseph’s Home

Joseph Swedish
President/CEO
Trinity Health

Sr. Margo Tafoya, MSSp
President
Mission Sisters of the Holy Spirit

Dale Thompson
President/CEO
Benedictine Health Systems
[Winsted]

Sharon Timmons
Interim President/CEO
St. Mary’s Hospital

Joanne Tomassi
National Regent
Catholic Daughters of the Americas

Michael Vinciguerra, PhD
President
University of St. Francis

Chad Wable
President/CEO
Saint Mary’s Hospital

Helen Wamstad
Administrator/CEO
St. Rose Care Center and Rosewood Court

Mark Wiener
President/CEO
Community Mercy Health Partners

Daniel J. Woods
President/CEO
St. Anthony’s Hospital

Cynthia Zane, EdD
President
Hilbert College

Rocky Zastoupil
President/CEO
St. Aloisius Medical Center

Rev. Gabriel Zeis, TOR
President
Saint Francis University

The Most Rev. José Gomez
Archbishop of Los Angeles
Chairman
Migration and Refugee Services

The Most Rev. Timothy Dolan
Archbishop of New York
President
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

For the complete list of signatories, please visit www.usccb.org/conscience or go here.