Talking about his niece's childhood bout with cancer, Dolan told religion journalist John Allen: "I'm a guy who not only is for health care reform theologically but personally. I don't want any family to have to go through what my sister's family went through. I wish I could be jumping up and down right now, but I can't, because I fear the legislation will also open the door to further assaults on defenseless unborn life."
Dolan, of course, is primarily not a political but a spiritual leader. Dolan is most concerned about a different kind of battleground state in a campaign for eternity. But this health care mandate collides with the cardinal's core beliefs in unprecedented ways -- this is why you're seeing the Catholic bishops so vocal and adamant, in defense of not only the rights of their institutions but the conscience rights of individual Americans as well, all of us, of any or no faith.
The Fortenberry bill is the best we can do in the short term to move to protect conscience rights short of the administration rescinding the mandate. The administration has been doubling down in making "accommodation" claims (since when does the American government merely "accommodate" religious freedom anyway?), hoping the protests will go away in the confusion, while actually changing nothing substantively about the policy.
It is becoming increasingly clear that the upcoming election is going to decide whether or not we preserve the foundational freedom of religion that lies at the heart of our nation. That's not partisan politics -- it's the reality of American politics in the run-up to a national election that could change things.