Catholic Bishops Expanding the Scope of the Hobby Lobby Ruling


To accommodate means changing something to suit someone’s wishes, or providing them with something they demand and it typically involves making something fit to satisfy one person.  For some Americans, no personal accommodation is suitable unless it impacts the entire population and over the past six years, no religious accommodation can satisfy the religious right. President Obama has made myriad accommodations for religious organizations to continue restricting women’s access to contraceptives, and yet it appears nothing short of an outright ban, and criminalization, of all forms of birth control will satisfy the United States Council of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).

All this week, the USCCB met in Baltimore to devise, and settle on, a liturgical plan to force implementation of Vatican morality principles to ensure that more American hospitals adhere to Vatican contraception bans and “do not cooperate immorally with the unacceptable procedures conducted in other health care entities.” The coded message, and overriding theme, in that USCCB statement is that the bishops are pushing hard to restrict women’s healthcare options in America under the purview of the Vatican; something the Papal contingent on the Supreme Court set in motion with their personhood, anti-contraception, Hobby Lobby ruling.

The spate of meetings focused on high  priorities for U.S. Bishops regarding how best to exert greater Vatican control over American women’s reproductive healthcare decisions, effectively oppose same-sex marriage, and incite more fear among the religious right that President Obama is infringing on their  religious freedom. Although the President has bent over backwards to accommodate the Vatican’s Humanae Vitae edict banning all forms of artificial birth control, the bishops are conspiring to exert greater control over more women’s reproductive health.

Apparently, the Bishops are dissatisfied with the scope of Hobby Lobby decision their lapdogs on the Supreme Court handed down, and decided to broaden the decision themselves to force an ever-growing number of secular hospitals and doctors to adhere to Catholic morality in the Humanae Vitae through “mergers and partnerships.”

According to a USCCB press release, the bishops concocted a plan to revise, and tighten, Catholic directives governing not only Catholic hospital morality rules, but those hospitals they “may be connected with,” intend to merge with, or have partnerships with. The bishops’ revisions affect all mergers and affiliations with what they labeled “secular hospitals that cause scandals,” and will force them to incorporate Vatican principles enacted in Catholic institutions so they do not “cooperate immorally with unacceptable procedures.” Translation; hospitals providing women with comprehensive reproductive healthcare are immoral and scandalous.

What the Bishops are unhappy about, and decided to change by a vote of 213 to 2, was a merger between a secular hospital, Burdett Care Center, and a Catholic hospital St. Mary’s. The secular hospital, Burdett was rightfully committed to providing the very best and widest possible spectrum of reproductive and maternity care to its patients, and St. Mary’s limited or banned reproductive options; Catholics demanded that the secular hospital abided by their medical morality edicts. However, after several years of negotiations, the parties reached a deal where a brand new Burdett Care Center was housed on its own floor within the newly named Samaritan Catholic hospital. The secular hospital was supposed to be free from the Vatican’s morality restrictions Samaritan followed, and provided birth control and performed tubal ligations. If a women’s life was in danger due to miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy, doctors were allowed to treat them according to accepted standards of the medical profession, or in Vatican parlance, immoral and scandalous medicine.

Justifiably, women’s groups and reproductive rights advocates are worried. Their concern is that the bishops will enforce Vatican morality rules on all health providers remotely connected to Catholic Health Initiatives affecting everything from employment contracts for doctors and nurses at Catholic facilities to deals with third-party suppliers such as testing labs. The domestic program director for Catholics for Choice in Washington, Sara Hutchinson Ratcliffe, said “The scope of Catholic health care in this country is big. The restrictions on reproductive healthcare that the bishops already place on Catholic health systems are far-reaching and growing. Any changes the bishops make to further limit care should be very concerning to everyone.”

As it is now, and it is expanding rapidly, Catholic healthcare systems account for at least one in six hospital beds in America. The longstanding USCCB policies already demand that when Catholic and secular health organizations merge or affiliate, the non-Catholic one must agree and conform to “respect church teaching and discipline.” Like the Hobby Lobby ruling where women must agree to conform to the evangelical Green family’s pseudo-biblical teaching and discipline. The USCCB teachings and morality edicts for Catholic and secular mergers and affiliates are contained in a document governing every Catholic hospital, clinic, nursing home, doctor, and health-care business in America.  Within the 72 morality directives are bans on abortion, sterilization, and birth control, and include restrictions on fertility treatments, genetic testing, and end-of-life options. Those restrictions are about affect more Americans whether they are victims of Catholic healthcare providers or not.

According to Bishop William Murphy of Rockville Centre, New York, the revisions are crucial because Catholic health initiatives have expanded greatly. The Bishop said that besides buying up and merging with secular hospitals across the country, they have been, and are, spending tax-free money “buying up physicians’ practices and much more. It makes it really very important for us to do everything we can to illuminate Catholic principles in cooperation.” Translation; use mergers and partnerships to enforce Vatican bans on all manner of “artificial birth control” on a greater number of women.

It is important to reiterate that it was the United States Council of Catholic Bishops that masterminded the Hobby Lobby decision, personhood movement, and convinced evangelicals their religious liberty was under siege. Prior to 1980, the religious right supported both abortion and contraceptives, but when their racial segregation crusade threatened their free tax-exempt money, they embraced the Vatican bans as their cause célèbre to elect Southern Republicans. Now that the Papal-five on the Supreme Court demolished the establishment and exercise clauses of the 1st Amendment, the USCCB are onward Christian soldiers on a mission to impose the Vatican’s Humanae Vitae edicts on, and control over, the greatest number of women.  Sadly, America has no King Henry VIII to tell the Vatican to sod off and protect women from a tyrannical church.

View Comments

  • Well folks, the ball is in your court. Just like restaurants, oil companys, Walmart etc you have the key.

    Just dont freaking go there. Stuff the catholic big shots down the rabbit hole. Shut them down

    • I really wish that were true, Shiva, but it is not. In rural America there are often NO options but RCC affiliate or owned hospitals. That's the whole insidious point about this crap. The bishops are going to make damned sure everyone in their sphere of influence, RCC brain dead or not, has to follow their rules. Once the contracts are signed and the RCC takes over a hospital, it is all over with. Many folks do not have the option to go to another hospital or contract with another doctor if ALL of them are under the RCC wing.
      This might also mean that if your doctor has affiliations with ANY RCC hospital, they are under that moral authority to not let you have birth control. I think that is exactly how far the dopes in roes are going to push this.

    • perhaps it's time to consider the religion of all newly placed Supreme Court Justices? The five on the court now are going to eventually stop all birth control at the behest of ROME.

  • A bunch of grey haired old men, whose sex fantasies don't involve birth control or pre-natal care (see: "Are you a buggerer of little boys? Because you look like a buggerer of little boys.") trying desperately to hold on to their positions of power in a world that sees them as increasingly out of touch. When the Vatican decides to unload it's unsurpassed horde of gold and sell off it's treasures to feed the world and turn back evil (start with the Koch Bros.) then maybe they will begin to get back to the path that Jeebus really walked. Pretty sure Jeebus would be fine with the Church being run out of a double wide trailer.

  • Time to remove the tax-free status of all churches. This edict establishes a conspiracy to limit the Constitutionally-protected rights of American women. And they are using all Americans taxes to do it.

  • If any tax reform is taken up by Congress, I know, but I can always dream, can't I? The tax free status of the churches should be included in discussions of tax reform. Churches, like Corporations have spend more time, money to aggressively opossed the Presidents efforts to provide a health care system for all.

  • Women need to file a Federal lawsuit, accusing the RCC of conspiring to deprive a class of persons of their civil rights under color of Law.

    Birth control is a civil right. As is everything to do with a citizen's private life. Life. Every pregnant woman has experienced +13 years of LIFE. She has a right to her own body. To claim otherwise is to deny 14th amendment rights. And you don't get to vote on Rights. It's like being pregnant. You are, or you're not free.

  • I hardly think the Catholic Church has any business talking morality to anyone.

    Until men can squeeze something the size of a watermelon out of a hole the size of a lemon, they can just sit down and shut up.

      • I'm not certain of that. I'm in fundyville and every time the Pope does something people here say, "Well, you know Catholics and Mormons aren't Christians anyway." (I'm soooo confused by this).

  • actually the catholic directives are clearly stated of which is pro life... meaning no killing of unborn children, protecting the women's dignity with good morals and values.... but still the women has the right to choose if they follow the catholic church rules... God give us freedom... but He gives us rules or commandments to follow.... so as the catholic church.. they gives rules... but it is up to us to follow or not... the medical profession oath is to preserve life, meaning to make people live not to make it die.. it is our life, it is our soul... but.... if nobody will tell us what is right or wrong, then our youth will think that killing unborn children is right, that to be a whore is right, that to sleep with different men or women is right as long as the woman doesn't get pregnant, so where is the moral, the values... at young age a woman sleep with different men, and when she gets old... she is already a professional whore... and even ruining her reproductive organ.

    • Crawl back into your hole. It is MY deeply held religious belief that it's THE worst sin to bring a child into the world that you can't - or won't - take care of. And I'm speaking of MARRIED women. I realize you people don't give a damn about children after they're born, but you don't get to call the shots for ME. Get that through your hideously judgemental mind NOW!

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