Another simple yet valid way of considering the object of the act of institutional compliance with the HHS Mandate, is as follows. By way of context: compliance involves the institution contracting to provide insurance for health care; compliance also involves the institution contracting to provide insurance for vice (e.g., purchasing abortifacient contraceptives). It is one contract that is assented to, but what the Catholic institution only intends as an end from such a contract is genuine health care benefits. However, it must contract to accept the other coverage, the coverage for vice, for it to be permitted by the government to provide health benefits.
Viewed as one complex object, compliance with the HHS mandate includes a malum in the essential definition of the complex object. But one may also proceed further with analysis to realize that the complex object is a per accidens combination of two distinct objects: contracting for the provision of health care benefits, and contracting for the provision of benefits for vice. That is to say, one may proceed further to resolve analysis into two genuinely different objects, only one of which is good. Is contracting to obtain vice benefits such by its nature as to tend per se toward contracting for health care benefits? Obviously no: by nature contracting to obtain insurance coverage for vice does not tend to provide health care benefits. Are genuine health care benefits such that by nature they can only be achieved through contracting for vice benefits? Again, the answer is no. Thus, it is clear that contracting for insurance for vice is not per se ordained to contracting for the provision of health care benefits. This means that there are two different moral species: one is the species of the act of contracting for genuine health care benefits, and that clearly is in itself moral; the other is the species of contracting (under coercion, it is true) to provide insurance coverage for vice, and that is evil and so may not rightly be done. Given the truth that providing insurance for vice is evil, and because the government requires that all institutional contracting for genuine health care benefits must also include contracting for vice benefits, clearly one cannot do the evil. Ergo, compliance is morally unreasonable.
In the hypothetical case of compliance, one of the objects is chosen by the Catholic institution only for the sake of the other (the institution contracts to provide insurance for vice only because the government makes this the condition of the institution contracting to provide insurance for health care). But these objects are of diverse species, and the one that is (under coercion) chosen only for the sake of the other—contracting to provide insurance for vice benefits—is not choiceworthy. Inasmuch as the one object chosen for the sake of the other is only per accidens ordered to that other, the species remain disjunct rather than unified under the species derived from the end sought by the institution, and in fact the species of contracting for vice benefits is evil. So, because the institution may never rightly do the former (contract for vice benefits) it may not rightly contract simultaneously both for vice benefits and for health benefits.