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  • Gimmicks Won't Resolve HHS Mandate's Religious Liberty Assault

    Friday afternoon announcements from the Obama Administration are the norm when the news is going to be controversial. In a late afternoon info dump yesterday, officials at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) laid out further details on its so-called “accommodation” to the Obamacare anti-conscience mandate.

    HHS released an advance notice of proposed rulemaking, soliciting comments (due 90 days after publication in the Federal Register on March 21) on its intended policy for religious employers who are not exempted from the anti-conscience mandate. As predicted, the suggested compromise is the same unworkable “accommodation” the Administration attempted to sell to the American people in a February 10 press conference.

    This is just another attempt by Administration officials to dampen the widespread outcry over its coercive mandate that almost all employers provide and pay for abortion-inducing drugs, contraception, and sterilization—regardless of moral or religious objections to such services.

    “We do not need any more rule making. We do not need any more comment periods. We already settled this with that one original rule: The First Amendment,” said Hannah Smith, senior counsel at the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which is representing five clients who have filed suit against the mandate’s violation of their religious liberty.

    In yesterday’s notice, the Administration is suggesting that insurance companies offer coverage of abortion-inducing drugs and contraception—free of charge—directly to employees of religious organizations that oppose the mandate on moral or religious grounds. This way, according to the Administration’s logic, religious employers aren’t providing or paying for such services.

    But religious groups aren’t following that distorted logic. Among many others, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has made clear that such accounting gimmicks are wholly inadequate to deal with the serious moral problem the mandate has forced upon religious groups.

    Insurers are not going to eat the costs of these services themselves. They will simply pass the costs for the drugs along to employers through increases in premiums, a fact the Administration admits in its own notice released today.

    It is the expectation of HHS that an insurance company will simply “pool” resources from all employers who purchase plans and use those funds to cover the cost of contraceptives. By the Administration’s own admission, there’s no guarantee that the funds collected by insurance companies from a religious employer’s premium payments won’t then be used to cover abortion-inducing drugs and contraception.

    The Administration’s “accommodation” is nothing but an accounting gimmick that still leaves employers with objections to abortion drugs and contraception footing the bill for those services. Those employers are now forced to wait on the process of unelected bureaucrats to know whether the Administration intends to respect their First Amendment rights.

    For more information on this latest move, check out:

    Administration “Taking Another Mulligan”: Administration Fails Fourth Time to Protect Religious Liberty, Becket Fund for Religious Liberty press release

    The Latest Mandate Announcement: “We Need a Process to Get Past November!” by James Capretta, National Review Online

    Posted in Obamacare [slideshow_deploy]

    13 Responses to Gimmicks Won't Resolve HHS Mandate's Religious Liberty Assault

    1. Yep, it's right there in the Constitution: congress has the power to pass laws mandating that citizens must buy whatever product from a private company congress or the executive dictates, and mandate to a private business what products they must offer to whom and at what price or for free. Right there with the explicit words "abortion" and "separation of church and state". Obamacare is the transfer of power from the individual to the statist central planners. Not only will health care be ruined, and more costly, the highest cost is our freedom. Once first amendment rights are negated, which will be next? Fundamental Transformation of America delivered?

    2. Bob P. says:

      Is the Obama / Sebelius partnership stupid, arrogant, ignorant or all three? Or maybe there is another set of three — liars, distorters, evil ones. Beware America — they're just getting started at tearing down the Constitution.

    3. Marsh Overstedt says:

      You don't have to be religious to hate this mandate. To me, the real argument is why would you add all these contraception doodads if you wouldn't also add, say, haircut, manicure and tanning-salon coverage?

    4. okiejim says:

      You can put lipstick on a pig but it is still a pig.

    5. Shannon Lott says:

      First Ammendment Rights!

    6. vtdelacy says:

      There have even been good physicians who have stated unequivocally their intentions to a) move to another country where medical ethics such as the Hippocratic Oath are still respected,. b) change professions OR c) take an early retirement as the direct result of the insult to their profession known as Obamacare. We will lose all of our good doctors at the same time as citizens are forced to subsidize baby murder by abortion. death panels for seniors and the disabled and rationing of care/passive euthanasia. It is an intolerable bill and the individual mandate makes it Unconstitutional to boot. Time for the Supreme justices to stop going AWOL in the matter and get busy going about the directive from We the People to REPEAL, REPEAL, REPEAL!

    7. It's not even an "accounting gimmick"–it is nothing served up as something. We shouldn't be "mandated" to provide ANYTHING–contraceptives, abortifacients, or anything!

    8. The President is relying on our ignorance, so he can spit on the first ammendment. Don't be ignorant, read this story.

    9. Bill Colley says:

      Obama is an Arabic word for devious.

    10. Bobbie says:

      why is this continuing? the blatant disrespect the government democrats have for womens' independents is reprehensible, unacceptable! 99% of women aren't clamoring for free contraceptions or appreciating the democratic government intrusion to exploit personal, female sexual issues! One woman who embarrassingly and humiliatingly publicized her privacy along with the privacy of her own friends, says she is poorly educated into thinking her way is at everyone elses pay ! This government attention by invasion is direct violation to women's rights kept to themselves. How did Hilary Clinton do it? Nancy Pelosi do it? Schultz? why do any government democrat women think so less of other women to do it their way without involving government mandates or influence alone? The government has no right to intrude our personal health with mandates and regulations. How sad the direction we are being taken.

    11. Bobbie says:

      oops! I meant independence!!

    12. Lionel says:

      Hi, I'm french
      Happy people ! You are discussing about "yes or no" to subsidizing to abortion , when here in France we are forced to pay , through "National Health Fund" all kind of abortions, 200 000 per year., most of them just because contraception did'nt work !
      Hold on ! but don't forget that fighting against abortion would be a fiasco if there's not a very practical effort of solidarity whith those pregnant in trouble.

    13. Larry Rosano says:

      Dear Sirs,

      We are on the same page, but a different book.
      I know exactly how to nullify the HHS mandate. Please read my blog at: http://nullify-hhs-mandate.blogspot.com I also wrote and mailed a letter on Dec 8, 2011 to the Pope which also in other words explains the legal reasoning which is copyrighted.

      Petitions are not effective. The government looks at you like you are a WINDBAG, since the government does not have to move. But, applying my Prolife strategy the government does! I prove as a matter of law how the HHS mandate is a violation of the Free Exercise of religion clause to the Federal First Amendment.

      Write me detailing how and why you do not understand. I am not an attorney, but an expert legal researcher

      The U. S. Supreme Court could make Obamacare a nullity by merely reviewing my blog and letter to the Holy Father. I have done it. Not it is a matter of raising it to the government.

      I attached a WORD file similar to my blog which includes A1 my definition. It is better on the blog.

      Although I appreciate your energy, you are going down the wrong track because showing the HHS mandate is unconstitutional is the course to take.

      Larry Rosano

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