Lutheran synod backs Catholics in HHS fight


The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod joins Roman Catholic officials in opposing proposed federal guidelines that would force many religious organizations to pay for contraceptives through health insurance, the synod’s president said Monday.

“The church shouldn’t be forced to act against its Christian conscience,” the Rev. Matthew Harrison told The State Journal Register during a visit to the convention of the synod’s Central Illinois District at the Crowne Plaza Springfield.

Harrison, 50, said the 2.3-million-member synod doesn’t oppose contraception overall, but it does oppose the emergency-contraception products known as Plan B and Ella because of the possibility that they can prevent a fertilized egg from implanting in a woman’s uterus.

The St. Louis-based synod, which includes more than a dozen churches in the Springfield area, considers that result to be equivalent to an abortion, he said.

The synod doesn’t want the federal government, as part of proposed guidelines to carry out the Affordable Care Act, telling the synod that it must cover those contraceptives and others, Harrison said.

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