Religious freedom and our First Amendment guarantee protecting the conscience rights of all citizens are under immediate attack in the U.S. and in Washington state. The Obama administration on Jan. 20 issued a new health and human services mandate requiring employers of religious institutions, such as hospitals, schools and charities, to provide contraceptives, sterilization and abortion-inducing drugs through their insurance plans, all of which violate Catholic teaching.
The Washington Legislature is considering ESHB 2330. This legislation is similar to the federal mandate that would also require Catholic institutions to provide contraception, abortion coverage to employees. ESHB 2330 offers inadequate conscience protections for employers in opposition to this mandate. There are no exemptions.
Stand up for religious freedom at noon on Friday. Attend and take part in the nationwide Stand Up for Religious Freedom Day with thousands from North Puget Sound at the U.S. District Court, 700 Stewart St., Seattle (standupforreligiousfreedom.com/mandate). Contact your state and federal representatives, informing them where you stand in favor of religious freedom and opposing the mandates.