• A coercive contraceptive mandate imposes pro-abortion ideology on all with pro-life views.
• The gutting of the only federal conscience regulation in health care opens the door to discrimination.
• The denial of federal grant funds to a ministry, simply for opposing abortions, threatens care for human trafficking victims.
• The administration's court case to restrict faith-based organizations' hiring rights minimizes religious liberty.
• Firings, discrimination and coercion of life-honoring health care professionals imperil health care access.
David Cortman, senior counsel with Alliance Defending Freedom, said using prayer to open public meetings is a long-standing American tradition that has been upheld by the Supreme Court. "Nonetheless, new legal attacks by people and activist groups claiming to be 'offended' by the way private citizens voluntarily pray have created significant confusion in the lower courts," he said.
In his most recent study on so-called "emergency contraception," Dr. James Trussell, whose research has been cited by the FDA, states that, "to make an informed choice, women must know that [emergency contraception pills] . . . may at times inhibit implantation." Over-the-counter access of Plan B removes the opportunity for teens to be informed by a health-care provider about all of Plan B's mechanisms of action, including its ability to end life.
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has hired religious liberty attorney and mother of six Kim Daniels as spokesperson for conference president Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan. The bishops' conference said April 29 that it "welcomes" Daniels, who brings with her experience as director of Catholic Voices USA, a lay Catholic organization that "works to bring the positive message of the Church across a broad range of issues to the public square."
Ongoing conflict over the contraceptive mandate promulgated by the Department of Health and Human Services ("HHS") has resulted in more than two dozen lawsuits by profit-making businesses and their owners seeking protection under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act ("RFRA"). To date, the businesses and their owners are winning handily, having obtained preliminary relief in seventeen of the cases, and being denied relief in only six.
Tens of thousands of citizens, including Catholic bishops, administrators of universities, hospitals and social agencies, private business owners, constitutional scholars and ordinary laypeople, flooded the online comments box. Some statements offered legal analyses that explained why the mandate violates the Free Exercise Clause of the Constitution and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Pro-life business owners affirmed their commitment to the sanctity of human life. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, in a March 20 statement filed by Anthony Picarello and Michael Moses rejected the narrow religious exemption that offers no protection for Catholic "organizations that contribute most visibly to the common good through the provision of health, educational and social services."
...religious believers who oppose the destruction of the lives of unborn human beings have ample basis to object to being dragooned to provide Plan B, Ella, and copper IUDs in their health plans.
Is "the freedom to worship" the same as "freedom of religion"? No it isn't. The freedom of religion entails much more than being able to "worship;" it includes being able to live out your faith. And that means to conduct your affairs - for-profit or nonprofit -so as to honor your deepest beliefs.
On Monday, hundreds of thousands of public comments flooded the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), as individuals and groups expressed concern with the Obama Administration's continued trampling on a fundamental freedom. Many public comments expressed continued opposition to the coercive HHS mandate that requires almost all employers to provide health insurance coverage of abortion-inducing drugs and devices, contraception, and sterilization-regardless of moral or religious objection. After more than a year of public outrage, over 50 lawsuits against the anti-conscience mandate, and a federal judge's demand that HHS fix its coercive mandate, the Administration published a "notice of proposed rulemaking" (NPRM) on February 6.
Voice for Life (VFL) at Johns Hopkins University (JHU) has officially been granted recognized group status after members of the student government initially likened it to a white supremacist group. Kristan Hawkins, President of Students for Life of America, told LifeNews she is elated by the decision.
"We are so proud of our students in Voice for Life for courageously standing up to the pro-abortion forces in their student government and on their campus that sought to silence them for their beliefs," she said. "In this case, the private personal character attacks on pro-lifers as racists and misogynists that we know go on all the time were exposed for the world to see."
Filed under: Conscience rights
The latest faux accommodation is that a "free" insurance policy must automatically be issued for all employees of organizations exempt from providing these items and procedures. It magically is paid for by the insurance company so the religious employers and employees are not supposed to complain. This is sheer nonsense: No amount of bookkeeping sleight of hand changes the cause-effect relationship.
A federal appeals court in Denver has granted Hobby Lobby Stores Inc.'s request for the entire court to hear its legal challenge over part of the Affordable Care Act that requires the company to cover emergency contraceptives for its employees. Typically, appeals cases are heard by a panel of three judges, but Hobby Lobby had asked the full court to hear the case - a request that federal appeals courts seldom grant, said Kyle Duncan, general counsel for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which is defending Hobby Lobby in its lawsuit.
Archbishop Charles Chaput spoke of "...a pattern of government coercion that includes the current administration's HHS mandate, which violates the religious identity and mission of many religiously affiliated or inspired public ministries; interfering with the conscience rights of medical providers, private employers and individual citizens; and attacks on the policies, hiring practices and tax statuses of religious charities and ministries. Why is this hostility happening? I believe much of it links to Catholic and other religious teaching on the dignity of life and human sexuality."
Maureen Ferguson, Senior Policy Advisor with The Catholic Association, decried the vote in comments to LifeNews.
"The Senate today voted against the First Amendment and religious freedom in a vote forcing Americans to pay for abortion products in their health care plans," she said. "People of faith should not be forced to buy health plans that include products that so flagrantly conflict with their religious faith."
TMLC attorney, Erin Mersino, has been spearheading the Law Center's legal initiatives against the Federal Government's HHS Mandate, which requires companies to provide insurance for their employees that cover and promote abortion inducing drugs and contraception. Michael Potter is a practicing Roman Catholic who strives to follow the teachings of his faith which include the belief that "any action which either before, at the moment of, or after sexual intercourse, is specifically intended to prevent procreation, whether as an end or means"--including abortifacients and contraception--is wrong.
No exemption or accommodation is available at all for the vast majority of individual or institutional stakeholders with religious or moral objections to contraceptive coverage. Virtually all Americans who enroll in a health plan will ultimately be required to have contraceptive coverage for themselves and their dependents, whether they want it or not.