Media CenterCRS Objects to Birth Control Mandate

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John Rivera

Catholic Relief Services

(410) 951-7399

[email protected]

Baltimore, MD., Jan. 21, 2012—Catholic Relief Services strenuously objects to today’s U.S. Department of Health and Human Services ruling that rejected the plea of Catholic institutions to be exempt from a mandatory requirement to provide birth control services in employee health plans.

The HHS rule requires almost every healthcare plan available to Americans to cover sterilization and contraception – including controversial abortifacients – as “preventive services,” a requirement absolutely at odds with Catholic moral teaching. Religious groups have one year to comply.

“This decision would compel Catholic institutions to acquiesce to practices that run counter to our deeply held religious teaching,” said Dr. Carolyn Y. Woo, CRS president and CEO. “This is clearly at odds with our long-held American tradition of religious liberty.”

Bishop Gerald F. Kicanas, Chairman of the CRS Board of Directors, said adherence to Catholic teaching lies at the heart of the agency’s identity.

“CRS serves people according to need, not creed. We are motivated by the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and our Catholic identity compels us to cherish, preserve and uphold the sacredness and dignity of all human life,” Bishop Kicanas said. “To forgo this would be to deny our very essence.

“It is our hope that over the next year, the Obama Administration will realize the harm that this rule will cause to institutions such as Catholic Relief Services,” he said.


Catholic Relief Services is the official international humanitarian agency of the U.S. Catholic community. The agency provides assistance to people in nearly 100 countries and territories based on need, regardless of race, nationality or creed. For more information, please visit or


February 1, 2012