Biggest Attack on Religious Liberty in CT in Years. Silence From the Key Player.

In a better world, this message would be a recap of the Connecticut March for Life. But we must devote this week’s email alert to a more urgent matter. HB 5424, the Bill Forcing Catholic Hospitals to Allow Referrals for Abortion and Gender Transitions, advanced out of the Public Health Committee on Wednesday during the CT March for Life.

Even many Republicans voted in favor of this attack on religious liberty.  We will have an alert soon on what you can do to try to stop this bill from becoming law.

But first, we need to shine a light on why this is such an uphill battle. Family Institute of Connecticut is, of course, fighting this bill. (See Peter Wolfgang go toe-to-toe with the Public Health Committee, beginning at the 4:12 mark, here.) The official lobbying arm of Connecticut’s Catholic bishops is, of course, also fighting this bill.  

You know who seems not to be fighting this bill? The Catholic hospitals themselves. 

According to a News 12 report on HB 5424 being voted out of committee,“The law could impact Trinity Health’s three hospitals – including St. Mary’s in Waterbury and St. Francis in Hartford. In addition, St. Vincent’s in Bridgeport and St. Raphael in New Haven are no longer Catholic-owned, but still follow church directives.” So there are at least five hospitals in Connecticut that, we are told, follow Catholic teaching.

Not a single one of them submitted testimony against HB 5424. In fact, News 12 reports that the Connecticut Hospital Association lobbied the bill to remove unintended consequences that might affect them

The Catholic hospitals are NOT mentioned by News 12. Every source seems to point to the Catholic hospitals not lobbying against this bill. Some are wondering if they even care. 

The Catholic bishops’ lobbying arm–the Connecticut Catholic Conference–is lobbying the bill. They are FIC’s best ally at the Capitol. FIC exists in part to fight for the religious liberty of individuals and organizations–including faith-based healthcare systems like Catholic hospitals.

But the Catholic hospitals must help themselves before it is too late. They are their own best advocates. Connecticut’s Catholic hospitals employ hundreds of people. They provide Christian-based healthcare to all regardless of religion, national origin, etc, and have been doing so for over 150 years. They should not be forced to allow referrals for procedures that are intrinsically evil. This is a legacy worth fighting for. It is time for Connecticut’s Catholic hospitals to step into the arena. Which is why we are so alarmed by the apparent unwillingness of the Catholic hospitals in Connecticut to defend themselves against HB 5424. In fact, it is one of the most alarming things we have ever seen in all the religious liberty battles we ever fought. 

We call upon Connecticut’s Catholic hospitals to defend themselves at our state legislature. 

It should not be just the Catholic Conference and the Family Institute speaking up on your behalf. An entity worth billions of dollars ought to be able to defend its own religious identity. Failure to do so may ultimately affect not just the hospitals or even the Catholic Church. If the state succeeds in this intrusion against the consciences of those with whom it differs, the religious liberties of all in Connecticut may be greatly harmed.