U.S. Rep. Dan Lipinski may be pro-life, but he supports a form of choice when it comes to birth control and abortion treatment. The Illinois Democrat believes schools, non-profits and other groups openly aligned with religious organizations have the right to not offer contraception, birth control or abortion-inducing drugs as part of their health insurance benefits.
The Democrat congressman recently expressed his disapproval with President Barack Obama’s Jan. 20 notice that private employers will have to cover birth control, even those who are religiously opposed to such treatment.
“The exemption is so narrow that only the churches themselves where Catholic priests are administrators will be exempt,” Lipinski said Monday. “Cardinal Joseph Bernardin and any Catholic school, Catholic hospitals, Catholic charities will all have to cover free of charge things that the Catholic Church and other religious organizations don’t believe in. I really think that’s a violation of conscience rights.”
A few opt-out options have been discussed in Washington D.C., leading up to what Lipinski predicted would be backlash to the requirement. He said the House is likely to do something, but was less certain about Senate action.
“I’m not someone who is always out there screaming about the government forcing us to do things we don’t want to do,” Lipinski said. “I know it’s important to be careful about government rules and freedom, but this is the first time I’ve been really shocked that something is being forced, that people are forced to do something they don’t believe in.”
In contrast, Lipinski offered words of praise to students, staff and families of Monday during a visit, as part of a weeklong tour to area Catholic schools.
For the sixth year in a row, Lipinski introduced a House resolution on Capitol Hill acknowledging efforts by Catholic schools to “produce academically successful students, foster a commitment to service, family, and community, and accept students from all faiths and backgrounds,” he said in a release.
Lipinski gave CJB a copy of the resolution and spoke to the whole school via a televised broadcast to classrooms, recorded by CJB students.
“I’m very proud to be a graduate of Catholic elementary and high schools,” Lipinski said during the broadcast. “Catholic schools mean a lot to me. I hope the kids understand what the principals, priests, teachers, administrators and your parents, all the sacrifices they make to have you here.”
During the week, he also visited , in Lemont, St. Andrew School in Romeoville, St. Linus School in Oak Lawn and St. Symphorosa School in Chicago.