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Calling Obama’s Bluff in Religious Liberty Smackdown

Chicago Daily Observer 11 February 2012 6 Comments

From Catholic Vote Action

Today the Obama administration has offered what it has styled as an “accommodation” for religious institutions in the dispute over the HHS mandate for coverage (without cost sharing) of abortion-inducing drugs, sterilization, and contraception. The administration will now require that all insurance plans cover (“cost free”) these same products and services.  Once a religiously-affiliated (or believing individual) employer purchases insurance (as it must, by law), the insurance company will then contact the insured employees to advise them that the terms of the policy include coverage for these objectionable things.

This so-called “accommodation” changes nothing of moral substance and fails to remove the assault on religious liberty and the rights of conscience which gave rise to the controversy.  It is certainly no compromise.  The reason for the original bipartisan uproar was the administration’s insistence that religious employers, be they institutions or individuals, provide insurance that covered services they regard as gravely immoral and unjust.  Under the new rule, the government still coerces religious institutions and individuals to purchase insurance policies that include the very same services.

It is no answer to respond that the religious employers are not “paying” for this aspect of the insurance coverage.  For one thing, it is unrealistic to suggest that insurance companies will not pass the costs of these additional services on to the purchasers.  More importantly, abortion-drugs, sterilizations, and contraceptives are a necessary feature of the policy purchased by the religious institution or believing individual.  They will only be made available to those who are insured under such policy, by virtue of the terms of the policy.

It is morally obtuse for the administration to suggest (as it does) that this is a meaningful accommodation of religious liberty because the insurance company will be the one to inform the employee that she is entitled to the embryo-destroying “five day after pill” pursuant to the insurance contract purchased by the religious employer.  It does not matter who explains the terms of the policy purchased by the religiously affiliated or observant employer.  What matters is what services the policy covers.

The simple fact is that the Obama administration is compelling religious people and institutions who are employers to purchase a health insurance contract that provides abortion-inducing drugs, contraception, and sterilization.  This is a grave violation of religious freedom and cannot stand.  It is an insult to the intelligence of Catholics, Protestants, Eastern Orthodox Christians, Jews, Muslims, and other people of faith and conscience to imagine that they will accept as assault on their religious liberty if only it is covered up by a cheap accounting trick.

Finally, it bears noting that by sustaining the original narrow exemptions for churches, auxiliaries, and religious orders, the administration has effectively admitted that the new policy (like the old one) amounts to a grave infringement on religious liberty.  The administration still fails to understand that institutions that employ and serve others of different or no faith are still engaged in a religious mission and, as such, enjoy the protections of the First Amendment.

Signed:

John Garvey

President, The Catholic University of America

Mary Ann Glendon

Learned Hand Professor of Law, Harvard University

Robert P. George

McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence, Princeton University

O. Carter Snead

Professor of Law, University of Notre Dame

Yuval Levin

Hertog Fellow, Ethics and Public Policy Center

 

 

 

From Greg Mankiw

Consider these two policies:

A. An employer is required to provide its employees health insurance that covers birth control.

B. An employer is required to provide its employees health insurance.  The health insurance company is required to cover birth control.

I can understand someone endorsing both A and B, and I can understand someone rejecting both A and B.  But I cannot understand someone rejecting A and embracing B, because they are effectively the same policy.  Ultimately, all insurance costs are passed on to the purchaser, so I cannot see how policy B is different in any way from policy A, other than using slightly different words to describe it.

Yet it seems that the White House yesterday switched from A to B, and that change is being viewed by some as a significant accommodation to those who objected to policy A.  The whole thing leaves me scratching my head.

Nothing has changed in Obama’s latest ploy.   The National Review is on to his shell games

Proponents of Obamacare’s anti-conscience mandate on preventive care kept telling critics to wait and see what the final rules held. As of Friday afternoon, we now know. It wasn’t worth the wait.

If there was a question Friday morning whether the Obama administration might cede ground, there was no doubt at the end of the day. They haven’t budged.

Despite what President Obama said at his White House press conference, the actual regulations make permanent the “interim final regulations” issued August 3, 2011 — the ones that sparked the furor in the first place.

Prefaced by 17 pages of the kind of rhetorical squid ink that President Obama defensively deployed at his press conference, the words that have the force of law appear on pages 18 to 20. That’s where the actual amendments to the Code of Federal Regulations are made by three departments — Treasury, Labor, and Health and Human Services — that Congress previously granted joint oversight of employer health plans

 

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Image “Playing the Races” with a Shell Game

6 Comments »

  • Christopher Lang said:

    Why don’t you people do what is really simple? Leave you religion out of womans health issues. Leave your right wing code word crap out of the issue as well, re: “Nothing has changed in Obama’s latest ploy” what ploy? There is no damn ploy.

  • jmk said:

    Christopher, if you really wanted Religion out of women’s health issues, you would oppose a mandate which forces Religion into women’s health issues.

  • Bessie said:

    Christopher; Talk about code word “crap” which the Obama administration is famous for, making this argument “womans health issues/birth control”…Obama, the “Constitutional professor” is trying to destroy OUR Constitution, one ammendment at a time…He started with our 2nd ammendment with Fast and Furious and now he’s going after our first ammendment wrapping it up with his b.s., making it look like a birth control issue…REALLY??? Are you that stupid? THIS is about the Constitution of the United States.
    It is NOT; Obama vs. Birth control
    It is; Obama vs. 1st Ammendment
    Next; Obama vs. 2nd Ammendment
    After/IF he wins a second term when there are NO consequences of an election, he will DESTROY the Constitution…

  • Michael R said:

    I’m glad the Catholic Church is forefront on this issue. In the past, the Church has not been as fervent on defending its conscience. I wonder how many Catholic institutions like Mercy Home are Notre Dame University regret their past support of the Obama administration.

    Other religions that do not approve of abortions have been less out front on this issue. Have we heard from Southern Baptists or Muslims on this issue?

    Finally, why is Obama so committed to birth control and abortion? He’s willing to break the consitiution and the separation of church and state over consequence-free orgasms?

  • Michael R said:

    Whosoever has spared the life of a soul, it is as though he has spared the life of all people. Whosoever has killed a soul, it is as though he has murdered all of mankind.

    Qur’an 5:32

  • Michael R said:

    Kill not your offspring for fear of poverty; it is We who provide for them and for you. Surely, killing them is a great sin.

    Qur’an 17:32

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