Monday, May 21, 2012

Notre Dame is suing the government on the HHS mandate... and that's fine by me

The Catholic Church's displeasure with the HHS contraceptive mandate is common knowledge, so it is no surprise that the University of Notre Dame--"where the Catholic Church does its thinking"--is filing a lawsuit opposing it.  Regular readers of this blog might be expecting me to get huffy at this point and start arguing about how wrong the whole thing is, but, readers, prepare to be surprised.  I am totally okay with the lawsuit, and the reason is simple: the lawsuit is against the finalized January rule, which includes none of the compromises I think make the HHS mandate acceptable.  The compromise rules are still in the "open to public comment" phase through June, and, as Jenkins stated in his email to ND:
Although I do not question the good intentions and sincerity of all involved in these discussions, progress has not been encouraging and an announcement seeking comments on how to structure any accommodation (HHS Advanced Notification of Proposed Rule Making on preventative services policy, March 16, 2012) provides little in the way of a specific, substantive proposal or a definite timeline for resolution.   Moreover, the process laid out in this announcement will last months, making it impossible for us to plan for and implement any changes to our health plans by the government-mandated deadlines
Okay, so I do take issue with the notion that there's little in the way of a specific substantive proposal in the March 16th public comment document.  I've read it, and it is tediously specific.  It isn't the full exemption I suspect the University is gunning for, but I think it represents a morally valid compromise because it incorporates all the stuff I've talked about in my billion other posts on the subject.  Since the University only has a year to comply, and there's no sure reason to believe that the accommodations will be finalized by that time, it is in the best interests of the University and of religious freedom writ large to sue and at least obtain a stay until accommodations can be implemented.

Also, I think that the lawsuit could clear up some interesting muddles in the area of religious freedom.  I rather suspect that in this case the right of people to privacy regarding their sex lives will trump the rights of religious organizations to force their agenda on non-conforming individuals if this makes it to a high court.

1 comment:

  1. I have said too much about this whole issue in the recent past, and I do not see much percentage in getting myself worked up over this again. Suffice it to say that I am not surprised that ND has joined the bandwagon, just disappointed.