Protecting our first freedoms:
Faith, conscience and speech

Voice your values: Legislative action

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Follow the law or follow your faith: Obama's outrageous order

New York Post commentary by Fr. Frank Pavone

March 21, 2016

A priest's mission is to nurture the exercise of religion in those to whom he ministers. Yet the mandate would require us to violate that religion, in full view of those we teach to live it. It's an unusual place to find myself after almost 28 years in the priesthood, as the feds sit in judgment on our beliefs. The government may disagree with our religious objections, but isn't free to discredit them. When I first announced our lawsuit in February 2012, all our employees applauded. No one on our staff wants Priests for Life to compromise its faith, even though this court battle could cause them to lose their health insurance or even their jobs.

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The Upcoming Court Battle Over the HHS Mandate

Crisis magazine commentary by Fr. Frank Pavone

March 14, 2016

But if you're an employer in America today, as I am, your signature can make you complicit in a grave evil, thanks to the burden the Obama administration has placed upon groups like mine when it comes to the objectionable "services" we are asked to cover in the health insurance plans we offer our employees. Priests for Life-the organization that I am blessed to lead-and dozens of other petitioners will be represented in the Supreme Court on March 23 when oral arguments occur in our consolidated lawsuit, Zubik v. Burwell, challenging the HHS mandate. We are defending ourselves because the government is asking us to commit an act that our faith prohibits.

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Government exempts 100 million from HHS mandate, but not the Little Sisters

The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty

March 2, 2016

The government's own statistics show that one in three Americans are exempted from the mandate. In its arguments to the Supreme Court, the government admits that women who are not covered by the mandate can still access contraception through other means, such as on a family member's plan or through the government's own insurance exchanges. But it then bizarrely argues that exempting the Little Sisters and letting the nuns' employees get contraceptives the same way would pose a serious threat to the government's goal of providing universal free access to contraception and early-term pharmaceutical abortion, thus harming the "harmonious functioning of a society like ours." The Little Sisters of the Poor have simply asked to be exempt too, and have suggested the government could better meet its goals if it provided services through the healthcare exchanges for everyone instead of trying to force religious plans to offer these services that violate their beliefs.

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A War of Choice

The Weekly Standard commentary by Joseph Bottum

January 25, 2016

Recently, however, the Judicial Crisis Network's Carrie Severino, writing one of the many amici briefs for the Little Sisters case, has directed attention to emails from officials at the IRS and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Why has the Obama administration insisted on applying an unrelated tax regulation (a provision defining the entities that have to file tax returns) to determine which religious groups fall under the contraception mandates of Obamacare? The answer starts to emerge when, in the light of the administration's intransigence in the Little Sisters case, we look back at those emails. In October 2011, for example, Medicare's Alexis Ahlstrom wrote her agency's law and policy advisers to find out "what student health plans at catholic universities cover today."

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Should You Get An Obamacare Conscience Tax Exemption?

The Federalist commentary by Casey Mattox

January 20, 2016

The Obama administration has been trying to force private organizations into paying for abortion and abortifacients while backing off from forcing individuals to do the same. This spring, the Obama administration will again ask the Supreme Court to allow it to force Catholic nuns, Christian universities, and other nonprofits to help deliver abortion-inducing drugs to their employees in violation of their religious beliefs. While the administration continues to defend that mandate, however, it has largely-but quietly-relented on another Obamacare requirement that forced citizens of some states pay a surcharge for others' elective abortions.

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Wheaton College Refuses to Bow to Caesar's Demands

Acton Institute commentary by Joe Carter

July 29, 2015

During an information session for students last week that was streamed live online, Paul Chelsen, Wheaton's vice president of student development, said he regretted the last-minute decision and the hardship it brings. "What has brought us here is about student health insurance, but it's bigger than student health insurance," Chelsen said. "What really breaks my heart is that there are real people that are affected by our decision. But if we don't win this case, the implications down the road in terms of what the government will tell us what we can and cannot do will be potentially more significant.

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Supreme Court to lower court: Reconsider decision against Notre Dame

Becket Fund

March 9, 2015

Today, the Supreme Court vacated the Notre Dame decision entirely, and sent the case back to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals to reconsider its aberrant ruling in light of the recent ruling in Hobby Lobby protecting religious freedom. "This is a major blow to the federal government’s contraception mandate. For the past year, the Notre Dame decision has been the centerpiece of the government’s effort to force religious ministries to violate their beliefs or pay fines to the IRS." said Mark Rienzi, Senior Counsel of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which filed an amicus brief in the case. "As with the Supreme Court’s decisions in Little Sisters of the Poor and Hobby Lobby, this is a strong signal that the Supreme Court will ultimately reject the government’s narrow view of religious liberty."

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A long list of broken promises

March for Life commentary by Ann Conant

September 16, 2014

Pro-life Americans should not have to spend hours reading summaries of benefits, or talking on the phone with insurance companies, in order to know if their health care plan violates their deeply held beliefs. This reality flies in the face of the transparency that was promised by the Obama Administration. The GAO report has an even more disturbing revelation: taxpayers from all 50 states are subsidizing abortion under Obamacare, despite the fact that President Obama and members of his Administration, promised the contrary.

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The Supreme Court reins in government bullies

Washington Post commentary by George Will

July 4, 2014

Two 5 to 4 decisions this week, on the final decision day of the Supreme Court's term, dealt with issues that illustrate the legal consequences of political tactics by today's progressives. One case demonstrated how progressivism's achievement, the regulatory state, manufactures social strife and can do so in ways politically useful to progressives. The other case arose from government coercion used to conscript unwilling citizens into funding the progressives' party.

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Congress addresses religious freedom cases

March 26, 2014

Rep. Joe Pitts (PA) speaks out on a Supreme Court religious liberty case involving a constituent family.

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The War on Hobby Lobby

National Review Online commentary by Rich Lowry

March 25, 2014

The truth is that the Obama administration wants to bring Hobby Lobby to heel as a matter of principle. In its pinched view of religion, faith should be limited as much as possible to the pews. In its attenuated regard for civil society, it believes government should overawe any person, business, or institution whose beliefs run counter to officially sanctioned attitudes.

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Uphold religious liberty: Opposing view

USA Today commentary by Cathy Cleaver Ruse

March 25, 2014

Millions of Americans are losing their health plans as Obamacare takes effect. Waiting for your cancellation notice has become the modern-day equivalent of waiting for your draft number to come up. The Department of Health and Human Services' mandate of early abortion pill and birth control coverage will only make things worse. It threatens the jobs, health plans and livelihood of millions of Americans.

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GOP turns to courts to rein in Obama's executive power

Washington Times

January 29, 2014

AA slew of other legal challenges to White House wish list policies have been launched by unhappy Republicans. One deals with the implementation of Obamacare, seen by some as a piecemeal approach that picks and chooses which political favorites get exempted, and by others as a trouncing of religious rights in favor of birth control. Among those in the GOP who have tacked on to lawsuits over Obamacare: Sen. Roy Blunt and Rep. Randy Forbes filed amicus briefs in a case against the Department of Health and Human Services, alleging a violation of religious freedoms over the contraception mandate. Eighty-eight other lawmakers have signed on to the brief.

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Obamacare overreach tramples Little Sisters: Our view

USA Today editorial

January 12, 2014

When the Obama administration picked a fight with Catholics and other religious groups over free birth control coverage for employees, sooner or later it was bound to end up doing battle with a group like the Little Sisters of the Poor. And sure enough, the administration is now stuck arguing that it is justified in compelling nuns who care for the elderly poor to assist in offering health insurance that they say conflicts with their religious beliefs. Talk about a political loser.

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The HHS Mandate Goes Live

NRO commentary by James Capretta

January 6, 2014

Almost forgotten in the tumult was the unpleasant reality that the highly controversial "HHS mandate" was about to go live on January 1, along with the rest of Obamacare. The mandate is the requirement that all employer-sponsored insurance plans, including those offered by employers with strong religious objections to the mandate, must provide "free" contraceptives, abortifacient drugs, and sterilization procedures to their workers and their workers' families.

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The Poor Little Sisters

NRO commentary by Gerard Bradley

January 3, 2014

The Department of Justice filed a legal memorandum Friday morning with the Supreme Court, affirming its opposition to the Little Sisters of the Poor's complaint that they should not be forced to facilitate free distribution of contraceptives and abortifacients to any of their employees who might desire them. Perhaps just stating the issue makes manifest the proper resolution of the lawsuit. In a morally sane world, it would.

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Making the taxpayer an accessory to the abortion trade

Rep. Chris Smith in Washington Times

October 9, 2013

As with Mr. Obama's promise that Americans can keep their current health insurance policy if they like it, implementation in the Obamacare exchanges of massive public funding of abortion undermines the president's credibility and word. As a direct result, hundreds of thousands of unborn babies will needlessly die from dismemberment in surgical abortion or from chemical poisoning and forced expulsion from the womb.

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Obamacare's Abortion Subsidies Are Well Hidden

Chuck Donovan and Genevieve Cervantes in National Review Online

October 3, 2013

On the first day the exchanges were available, the Charlotte Lozier Institute (CLI) examined the OPM site and its initial list of more than 150 MSPs in an attempt to ascertain which plans cover elective abortion and whether the Obama administration has complied with the law's requirement that at least one MSP in each exchange exclude such coverage. The attempt was, to put it charitably, an adventure.

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USCCB president: CHA support of health care rules 'less than helpful'

Catholic News Service

September 11, 2013

The Department of Health and Human Services June 28 issued final rules for implementing the mandate, which is part of the Affordable Care Act. The USCCB maintains that the rules still conflict with church teaching. Cardinal Dolan said the conference continues to evaluate what next steps it will take in response.

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Doctor-ethicist sees ongoing efforts to weaken conscience protections

Pilot Catholic News

August 23, 2013

Dr. John Brehany, executive director and ethicist of the Catholic Medical Association, said with the passage of the new health care law, commonly called Obamacare, "the federal government is posing real threats to faithful health care professionals. While Obamacare itself does have a couple of conscience-protection provisions built in, the fact is, if you look at the big picture, which are the old federal laws and what was achieved from 1973 to 2004, we are now missing some important protections, and we are now vague on how these old laws will carry forward into the future."

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Businesses struggle with contraception mandate as lawsuits play out

Washington Times

August 9, 2013

Some of the business owners who sued the Obama administration over the "contraception mandate" tied to the health care law are insuring employees' birth control against their will - now that the rule is in effect - or refusing to comply in an act of civil disobedience. While many companies have obtained court orders excusing them from the obligation while they challenge the law, at least seven for-profit businesses were unable to get a temporary reprieve, leaving them to decide whether to obey the mandate or ignore it and risk substantial fines.

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Alliance Defending Freedom represents Trijicon in new lawsuit against Obama administration

Firearms sight manufacturer targets abortion pill mandate

August 9, 2013

A family business that manufactures sights and scopes for the military, law enforcement, and hunters has filed suit through its Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys against the Obama administration's abortion pill mandate. The suit joins an ever-growing number of legal challenges to the mandate, a component of Obamacare that forces employers, regardless of their religious or moral convictions, to provide insurance coverage for abortion-inducing drugs and devices, sterilization, and contraception under threat of heavy penalties. "All Americans, including job creators, should be free to honor God and live according to their consciences wherever they are," said Senior Legal Counsel Matt Bowman.

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Obamacare ruling violates religious liberty

Video - Alliance Defending Freedom

July 26, 2013

The Obama Administration is using healthcare law to become a dictator of conscience. ObamaCare is holding your healthcare hostage and offering no real choice. It requires you to either comply and abandon your religious freedom and conscience, or resist and be fined for your faith. By upholding the individual mandate, the greater of either the cost of the ObamaCare plan or up to 2.5% of your salary can now be taken straight from your tax returns. But by God's grace, there is still hope for the future of religious freedom.

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Critics raise questions over abrupt delay of ĎObamacareí mandate

Washington Times

July 7, 2013

The Obama administration's decision to delay the new health care law's "employer mandate" after business owners complained about its complexity has critics asking why, a few days prior, the White House would green-light a rule it sees as a burden on religious employers who do provide health insurance. "It had absolutely everything to do with the fact 2014 is a big election year," said Ashley McGuire, senior fellow at the Catholic Association. Rep. John Fleming, Louisiana Republican, said the White House knew the employer mandate "would hurt them, politically."

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Obamacare mandates put freedom and women's health at risk

Paul Rondeau in Washington Times

April 8, 2013

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.

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VIDEO: Victims Speak Out for Conscience Rights Act, H.R. 940

U.S. Congress news conference video

March 11, 2013

"We cannot--we will not--compromise." --nun who runs network of Catholic Hospitals

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Black, Fortenberry & Fleming Introduce Health Care Conscience Rights Act

Rep. Diane Black press release

March 5, 2013

Today, Congressmen Diane Black (R-TN), Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE), and John Fleming, M.D. (R-LA) held a press conference to announce the introduction of theHealth Care Conscience Rights Act (HCCRA). This legislation would protect Americans’ First Amendment rights and would stop the Obama Administration’s assault on religious freedom.HCCRA offers reprieve from ongoing violations of our First Amendment, including full exemption from the Obama Administration’s Health and Human Services (HHS) mandate and conscience protection for individuals and health care entities that refuse to provide, pay for, or refer patients to abortion providers because of their deeply-held, reasoned beliefs. Click here to read the bill text.

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Another Non-Accommodation

Jim Capretta in National Review Online

February 5, 2013

On the contrary, it is a renewed statement by the administration that it will not allow religious institutions or believers to dissent from the prevailing secularism of the day.

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A New Round of Intolerance

Yuval Levin in NRO

February 1, 2013

So basically, the religious institutions are required by the government to give their workers an insurer and that insurer is required by the government to give those workers abortive and contraceptive coverage, but somehow these religious employers are supposed to imagine that they're not giving their workers access to abortive and contraceptive coverage.

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Lawsuit score: Obamacare contraceptives mandate 5, Religious freedom 9

The Washington Times

January 17, 2013

President Obama's mandate that most private companies provide health insurance plans that cover the costs of contraceptives has met with considerable headwinds in the legal system, where nine of the 14 federal courts to rule so far have sided with employers who say the mandate violates their beliefs and infringes on their religious liberties.

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Contraception mandate kicks in for wave of employers

Catholic News Agency

January 3, 2013

Kyle Duncan, an attorney representing Hobby Lobby in its case, said that the company plans to continue providing health insurance to its employees without paying for the drugs that it finds morally objectionable. To continue following their Christian beliefs, the company's owners now risk fines of $1.3 million per day.

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Federal Court Rules Against Missouriís Attempt to Halt Obamacareís Abortion Pill Mandate

Christian News Network

December 26, 2012

St. Louis, Missouri - A federal court has ruled against a newly-enacted Missouri law that sought to block Obamacare's abortion pill mandate by allowing religious-owned businesses to be exempt from the requirement. In September of this year, Missouri legislators enacted the law, overriding a veto from Democratic Governor Jay Nixon. It had initially passed in May, 28-6 in the Senate and 105-33 in the House.

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Supreme Court Directs Appeals Court to Address Challenge to HHS Mandate

National Catholic Register

November 27, 2012

Five months after the U.S. Supreme Court's landmark decision upheld the individual mandate of the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare, the high court directed the Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to consider a case that challenges two key provisions of the federal health law, including the contraception mandate.

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Obamacare strong-arms religious beliefs

Washington Times commentary by Cody and Millard

November 16, 2012

Hopes of repealing Obamacare took a beating last week with the election results. For the foreseeable future, implementation of the Affordable Care Act will continue, including the Department of Health and Human Services‘ (HHS) "contraception mandate" - a frightening glimpse of what we have to look forward to.

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Michigan Judge Temporarily Blocks Health Law Mandate on Birth Control

New York Times

November 6, 2012

Many plaintiffs, like Mr. Weingartz and Hercules, have invoked the First Amendment and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993. That law provides that officials may not burden a person's exercise of religion unless they can show "a compelling governmental interest" and use "the least restrictive means" of advancing that interest.

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What About Religious Freedom? The other consequences of Obamacare

Weekly Standard commentary by W.J. Smith

October 22, 2012

Obamacare won't just ruin health care. It is also a cultural bulldozer. Before the law is even fully in effect, Health and Human Services bureaucrats have begun wielding their sweeping new powers to assault freedom of religion in the name of their preferred social order.

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Obamacare limits freedom on abortion, contraception

Washington Examiner commentary by Helen Alvare

October 15, 2012


On Oct. 5, President Obama came to George Mason University in Virginia, where I teach law, to generate support for the health care mandate requiring employers to buy health insurance that covers contraception, sterilization and drugs that cause early abortions. "Let me tell you something, Virginia," he said. "I don't think your boss should control the care you get. I don't think insurance companies should ... I definitely don't think politicians on Capitol Hill should ... I think there's one person who gets to make decisions about your health care -- that's you." The president can obviously say what he wants, but I wish he wouldn't say that a law means its opposite.


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Blunt Amendment: Protections For Religion, Conscience Long Established

Hartford Courant commentary by Rep. N. Johnson

October 5, 2012

Strong pro-choice representatives and senators, women and men, have understood the value of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Until the Affordable Care Act dramatically limited protection, it was seen as essential in a democracy that guarantees religious freedom.

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The HHS-Mandate Battle

National Review Online commentary by L.M. Nussbaum

August 21, 2012

Some of the plaintiffs had been misled by President Obama himself. During his Notre Dame speech, the president promised that, notwithstanding his support of abortion rights, he intended to "honor the conscience of those who disagree with abortion, and draft a sensible conscience clause."

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College Refuses Obama Admin Demand to Drop HHS Mandate Lawsuit

August 15, 2012

Louisiana College filed a response in federal court Friday to the U.S. Department of Justice's motion to dismiss the college's lawsuit against the Obama administration's abortion pill mandate. The lawsuit challenges the unconstitutional mandate, which requires religious employers to provide insurance coverage for abortion pills at no cost to employees regardless of religious or moral objections.

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56% Favor Repeal of Health Care Law

Rasmussen poll

August 13, 2012

Most voters still want to see President Obama's health care law repealed, and a plurality believes repeal would be good for the economy. The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 56% of Likely U.S. Voters favor repeal of the national health care law, while 38% are opposed.

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Obamacareís Attack on Religious Rights of Entrepreneurs

Secondhand Smoke blog by Wesley J. Smith

August 10, 2012

The government claims that:
1) Seeking profit is a wholly secularist pursuit;
2) Hence, once we go into business, we lose our religious freedoms in the context of those activities;
3) Meaning that all who engage in such secular undertakings must accede to the precepts of secular ideology;
4) Which the government establishes through the passage of laws and promulgation of regulations.

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Reckoning and Resolve: The Obama HHS Mandate

Catholic Medical Association statement

August 1, 2012

We cannot let this day pass without a reckoning of what has been lost and without a statement of resolve to restore our freedom, rights, and security. President Obama's mandate constitutes a raw use of political power to subsidize services and organizations to which his Administration is ideologically committed.

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55% Favor Repeal of Health Care Law

Rasmussen Poll

July 30, 2012

Most voters continue to support repeal of the health care law, and the number who fears they will have to change their health care coverage has jumped to its highest level since October of last year. A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 55% of Likely U.S. Voters at least somewhat favor repeal of the health care law, including 41% who Strongly Favor repeal.

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Catholic business owners score win against ObamaCare mandate

FOX News

July 27, 2012

“Every American, including family business owners, should be free to live and do business according to their faith. For the time being, Hercules Industries will be able to do just that,” said Matt Bowman, legal counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom, the Arizona-based organization representing the Newlands. “The bottom line is that Congress and the Constitution explicitly protect all religious freedom. They don’t exclude family businesses.”

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Challenges to Obama administrationís birth-control mandate piling up in court

The Hill

July 26, 2012

Ashley McGuire with the Catholic Association, a group that promotes activism against the mandate, said Catholics see the policy as "bullying" their faith. "People in the pews may not agree with all of the Vatican's teachings," she said. "But they love their priests and they love their bishops. They see the mandate as a violation of the church's authority to act according to its conscience."

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The Presidentís Pelvic Politics

Indep. Women's Forum - Connie Marshner

July 24, 2012

A charitable interpretation may be that Obama just doesn’t understand this.  After all, he grew up unchurched, so how would he know Christians who live to serve?  A more cynical reading of the situation is that Obama wants to compel religious hospitals and colleges to set aside their religious principles in order to follow his pelvic politics.

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An Evangelical-Catholic Stand on Liberty

Wall St. Journal commentary by P. Ryken and J. Garvey

July 19, 2012

On Wednesday, represented by the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, the trustees of Wheaton College joined The Catholic University of America in filing a lawsuit against the Department of Health and Human Services. They did so because the HHS mandate requiring the college to provide and subsidize insurance coverage for abortion-inducing drugs violates the conscience of the school and its members, and denies their First Amendment freedom of religion.

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One HHS Mandate Case Dismissed, Donít Read Too Much Into It

National Review Online commentary by Kyle Duncan

July 17, 2012

Today’s decision by a federal district court in Nebraska to dismiss one of the many pending lawsuits against the HHS abortion-drug, contraception and sterilization mandate is unfortunate (and in one respect, seriously mistaken). But the decision turns on technicalities and doesn’t decide the merits of the dispute. Bear this context in mind if you should hear anyone trumpeting this decision as some sort of “victory” for the federal government on the religious-liberty questions at the heart of the HHS mandate litigation.

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Religious freedom and conscience rights in America

Richard Doerflinger interview on Christian Doctors Digest

July 13, 2012

Christian Medical Association CEO Dr. David Stevens interviews Richard Doerflinger of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops on the HHS mandate in the Affordable Care Act, conscience rights and religious liberty.

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Religious Freedom and the HHS Mandate: A Conversation with Representatives

Video of Georgetown U. symposium

July 13, 2012

On Thursday, June 28 at 10:00 AM, Congressman Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE) joined Congresswoman Diane Black (R-TN), Congresswoman Ann Marie Buerkle (R-NY), and Congressman Dan Lipinksi (D-IL) for a public forum at Georgetown University’s Gaston Hall. The topic: the Health and Human Services (HHS) mandate and its implications for individual liberty and religious freedom. Rep. Fortenberry also discussed his Freedom2Care-supported bill, the Respect for Rights of Conscience Act (H.R. 1179).

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Why Should You Care About Religious Liberty?

Independent Women's Forum commentary by Connie Marshner

July 6, 2012

When people are not virtuous there is more and more government control of everybody.  As the moral capital of the past disappears, more and more bad things happen, and human misery increases.  Moral capital must be continuously renewed in the hearts and minds of men and women. 

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Birth control draws bishops into debate

US News & World Report

July 6, 2012

Fifty-six plaintiffs have filed 23 lawsuits against the Health and Human Services Department mandate, including three Protestant educational institutions. "We have seen an incredible intensity on this issue," said Maureen Ferguson, a senior policy adviser at the Catholic Association, told Roll Call in an article published Thursday.

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Repeal Obamacare -- and then really reform health care

Washington Examiner commentary by Jonathan Imbody

July 5, 2012

Reforming health care is unquestionably challenging, but it's not brain surgery. It works best when following basic principles most kindergartners learn: Help others up when they've fallen, keep your hands off other people's stuff and save your lunch money for when it's needed.

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HHS mandate challengers receive unlikely support

CNA commentary by Kim Daniels

July 3, 2012

In her separate opinion – joined by Justice Sotomayor, Justice Breyer, and Justice Kagan – Justice Ginsburg notes that beyond the provisions directly at issue in the healthcare case, other constitutional provisions limit the power of the federal government: “A mandate to purchase a particular product would be unconstitutional if, for example, the edict impermissibly abridged the freedom of speech, interfered with the free exercise of religion, or infringed on a liberty interest protected by the Due Process Clause.”

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Friends, foes of health care ruling react

Town Hall

June 29, 2012

Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List: "From the outset, Obamacare is fundamentally flawed legislation because it makes American taxpayers complicit in the deaths of countless unborn children. Today's decision to uphold the individual mandate to force individuals to purchase health care plans that offend their conscience is incredibly disappointing."

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It's 2010 again

World Magazine

June 29, 2012

Christian Medical Association director David Stevens warned that forcing employers and individuals with faith-based convictions to subsidize abortion or life-ending contraceptives would lead to “huge faith fines on those of us who resist.”

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What to expect post-ObamaCare ruling

One News Now

June 29, 2012

Dr. Gene Rudd, senior vice president of the Christian Medical Association (CMA), says the high court decision basically endorses the healthcare law, which will lead to a severe encroachment on the rights of conscience and the exercise of religion.

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The fight against Obamacare isn't over yet

Washington Examiner commentary by Casey Mattox - ADF

June 29, 2012

The first of Obamacare's hammers has already fallen, targeting religious freedom. And attention must now turn to the dozens of cases around the country aimed at stopping what is known as the Health and Human Services, or HHS, mandate -- the requirement that qualifying insurers and self-ensuring employers pay for sterilizations, abortifacient drugs and contraception, or else pay a fine.

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What next for health care reform?

Blog by Jonathan Imbody

June 29, 2012

The Supreme Court only tested the health care law's constitutionally, not its merits. That's for the people to decide, and a majority of Americans for the past two years have weighed the merits of the law and found it wanting. Congress and the President now should take heed to constitutional and practical principles, stop trying to take over the world and focus instead on sensible, measured and bipartisan health care reforms.

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Religious Liberty Takes Center Stage

Daily News commentary by Mark Rienzi

June 29, 2012

Nothing in the court’s opinions directly addressed the religious-freedom challenges brought in the 23 lawsuits challenging the HHS mandate that all employers must provide insurance coverage for contraceptives, sterilization and drugs and devices that cause early abortions. In fact, every justice who voted to uphold the law was quite clear that Congress’ exercise of its taxing power remains subject to other constitutional guarantees like the right to religious freedom.

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Individual Mandate Survives; Religious Liberty Challenges Move Forward

Becket Fund commentary

June 28, 2012

“The Becket Fund’s religious liberty lawsuits against the unconstitutional HHS mandate will continue,” said Hannah Smith, Senior Counsel at the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty. “Never in history has there been a mandate forcing individuals to violate their deeply held religious beliefs or pay a severe fine, a fine which could force many homeless shelters, charities, and religious institutions to shut their doors.”

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NCBC Response to the June 28 Ruling of the U.S. Supreme Court

National Catholic Bioethics Center commentary

June 28, 2012

From the perspective of social justice, this law jeopardizes the principle of subsidiarity, which, like the principle of federalism upon which our Constitution was written, holds that services ought to be provided by those social agencies and instrumentalities of government that are closest to the point of delivery.  Tremendous dangers lie in health care being orchestrated by the highest level of social organization, our federal government.

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Religious Liberty Concerns Grow Greater as Obamacare Upheld

Heritage Foundation commentary by J. Marshall and S. Torre

June 28, 2012

This morning, the Supreme Court didn’t just miss the opportunity to protect individual liberty. It also failed to defend religious freedom. The Court’s ruling to uphold the health care law doesn’t mean it has cleared its legal challenges, however. Twenty-three federal lawsuits against the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) mandate—which goes into effect on August 1—now take on added urgency.

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Health Care After the Court

Commentary by Yuval Levin - EPPC

June 27, 2012

As a matter of policy substance, the individual mandate is peripheral, not central, to the Left's approach to health-care reform. It is necessary to the system envisioned by Obamacare precisely because that larger system is at odds with basic economics. Left to itself, the system would quickly self-destruct, since it would create strong incentives for people to remain uninsured until they were sick.

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ObamaCare Mandate Is Worse Than You Think

Alliance Defense Fund video

June 21, 2012

"You knew it was bad, but it's worse than you think. ObamaCare includes plans that fund elective abortions, charges people for life-saving drugs while making life-ending drugs free, and seriously fines those who do not comply..."

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How Will the Supreme Court's Decision Impact the HHS Mandate?

Becket Fund analysis

June 18, 2012

The Supreme Court will soon decide the constitutionality of certain provisions of the Affordable Care Act. How does this impact the HHS lawsuits? This graphic illustrates the three different scenarios.

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ObamaCare Automatic Enrollment of Minors

Alliance Defense Fund blog entry by Matt Bowman

June 6, 2012

ObamaCare is not content with forcing coverage of abortion-inducing drugs against people's consciences. Now the administration has made its attack on conscience even worse: by forcing abortion-drug coverage onto children against their parents' objection.

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Mandate for health services touches full religious spectrum

Philadelphia Inquirer commentary by Joe Watkins

June 4, 2012

Priests, rabbis and pastors, as well as ministry and faith leaders across the spectrum, are speaking out against this policy. The mandate impacts people of all faiths. Forcing a religious institution to provide and pay for services that violate its own faith goes against our nation’s history of religious liberty.

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Protecting our Catholic conscience in the public square

Washington Post op-ed by Cardinal Donald Wuerl

May 23, 2012

Imagine the church's surprise, then, to be told by the federal government that when a Catholic organization serves its neighbors, it isn't really practicing its religion. That is the unacceptable principle at the heart of a mandate, issued in February by the Department of Health and Human Services, that requires religious organizations to provide health-care coverage for abortion-inducing drugs, contraceptives and sterilization procedures, even if their faith teaches that those drugs and procedures are wrong.

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Lawsuit, what lawsuit?

Washington Times evaluates new coverage of anti-mandate lawsuits

May 23, 2012

Media Research Center founder Brent Bozell has seen a lot of media abuse in his time as the master monitor of the liberal press. Now, he's seen the very worst: The broadcast networks "all but spiked the largest legal action in history to defend our constitutionally protected religious freedom," the analyst says, citing CBS, ABC and NBC for skimming over news that 43 Catholic dioceses and organizations filed a lawsuit Monday against the Obama administration.

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Lawsuits Challenging Contraception Rule Get Little Play

Roll Call: Senator Blunt considers intervening

May 23, 2012

Republican leaders might be trying to avoid getting re-entangled in the culture wars, but Senate Republican Conference Vice Chairman Roy Blunt on Tuesday said he is considering intervening in a legal challenge to a proposed federal contraception rule brought by Catholic organizations.

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Different words, same policy

Washington Times commentary by Anna Franzonello

May 23, 2012

This week my alma mater, the University of Notre Dame, was one of more than 40 plaintiffs to file suit against the Department of Health and Human Services regarding its mandate that private health insurance plans cover life-ending drugs and devices, including the abortion-inducing drug ella.

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Catholic bishops strike back

Washington Times commentary by Cathy Ruse

May 23, 2012

In January, the Obama administration hit Catholic employers with arguably the most religiously-oppressive government directive in modern American history: Provide free abortion drugs and birth control pills in your health insurance plans, in flagrant violation of your religious beliefs, or face legal punishment. This week the bishops of the Catholic Church hit back. In one of the largest legal actions to defend religious liberty in U.S. history, Catholic organizations filed a dozen lawsuits across the country claiming the Obama Health and Human Services Department rule violates the right to religious freedom set forth in the U.S. Constitution.

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Lawsuits swarming over healthcare, religious conscience


May 23, 2012

Greg Baylor, an attorney with the Alliance Defense Fund, says the outcry against the mandate is justifiable and understandable. "They're basically saying, Hey, if you're a religious organization that's out there in the world, serving the world, hiring people who don't necessarily share your religious commitments, you're not entitled to freedom of conscience."

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Obama's grand miscalculation with Catholics

Fox News commentary by Maureen Malloy Ferguson, Ashley McGuire

May 22, 2012

In the most comprehensive survey conducted on the issue yet, Washington-based public opinion firm QEV Analytics recently found that some 50% of regular churchgoing Catholics heard a statement during Mass setting forth the bishops' serious misgivings about the insurance mandate. Of all the Catholics who heard this statement, most apparently agreed with it.

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HHS doesn't speak for me, or many women

Washington Post commentary by Helen Alvare

May 22, 2012

HHS is further suggesting that rather than allowing female employees of religious institutions to seek contraceptive coverage, a government-approved entity will simply provide it to them and all their female beneficiaries (minors included) “automatically” — and without any co-pay to tip off minors’ parents. This isn’t freedom. This is coercion, along with the undermining of parents’ duties and rights respecting their children.

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Our Religious Freedom - video

Chancellor Jane Belford of Archdiocese of Washington explains lawsuit

May 22, 2012

Chancellor Jane Belford of the Archdiocese of Washington explains the significance of the lawsuit filed to protect freedom to practice religion. Chancellor Belford details why the suit is necessary in light of the attempt of the government to redefine what is a religious institution. She explains that under the new definition that the work of Mother Teresa no longer would qualify as the work of a religious institution.

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Catholic dioceses, colleges sue over Obama mandate

Washington Examiner

May 21, 2012

NEW YORK (AP) - Dozens of Roman Catholic dioceses, schools and other institutions sued the Obama administration Monday over a government mandate requiring most employers to provide birth control coverage as part of their employee health plans. 


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Hercules v. Obama

Alliance Defense Fund video on lawsuit

May 21, 2012

ADF attorneys file suit against administration's 'abortion pill' mandate on behalf of Denver's Hercules Industries.

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Healthcare mandate endangers religious freedom

The Hill commentary by Jim Nicholson

May 18, 2012

This radical policy change will be devastating to religious organizations who are working to provide critical services to Americans in need. These institutions may now be forced to pay huge fines, be subject to unelected bureaucrats' defining their status, limiting their work, or even shutting them down altogether. This would not just impact the organizations themselves, but the millions of needy Americans whom these organizations serve.

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Religious Liberty--Obamacare's First Casualty

Heritage Foundation video

May 18, 2012

The controversy over the Obama Administration's anti-conscience mandate and the fight for religious liberty only serves to highlight the inherent flaws in Obamacare. This conflict is a natural result of the centralization laid out under Obamacare and will only continue until the law is repealed in full.

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Public Comments Overwhelmingly Oppose HHS Anti-Conscience Mandate

Heritage Foundation analysis

May 3, 2012

The federal website released the first round of public comments on the administration's proposed anti-conscience mandate on Wednesday. The comments were overwhelmingly opposed to the measure: out of 211 comments submitted, only six, less than 3%, offered support for the mandate.

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Federal contraception coverage mandate raises ire among insurers

Employee Benefit News: Insurers may raise premiums for health plan members

May 1, 2012

"[Insurers] think it will raise pharmacy costs and won't lower medical costs," says Rhonda Greenapple, chief executive officer of Reimbursement Intelligence. "The idea that preventive care is going to reduce overall health care costs, they don't buy it."

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The Mother of All Freedom

National Review Online commentary by Kathryn Jean Lopez

April 19, 2012

We insist upon the civilly-protected freedom for the practice of religion and freedom for the free exercise of conscience because they are inherently human freedoms. No person may become the pawn of the State no matter how small or diminished; no matter how inconvenient. If we loose sight of the dignity of the person, all else will unravel. Peace will not last, for the violation of conscience makes any other human violation and tyranny justifiable.

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Is Conscience Partisan?

Public Discourse commentary by Richard Doerflinger

April 15, 2012

During his final illness Sen. Ted Kennedy wrote a letter to Pope Benedict XVI, stating, "I believe in a conscience protection for Catholics in the health field, and I'll continue to advocate for it as my colleagues in the Senate and I work to develop an overall national health policy that guarantees health care for everyone."

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Pastor Rick Warren Decries Obama Contraception Compromise

National Journal

April 8, 2012

Influential evangelical pastor Rick Warren said Sunday that he is not satisfied with the Obama administration's compromise on a requirement that religious-affiliated organizations provide contraception coverage to employees, and said religious freedom is at stake. "The issue here is not about women's health," Warren said on ABC's This Week. "There is a greater principle, and that is do you have the right to decide what your faith practices?"

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Will the Obamacare Decision Affect the HHS Mandate?

National Review Online commentary by Mark Rienzi

April 2, 2012

Last week's Supreme Court arguments over the Affordable Care Act focused on the constitutionality of the individual mandate and the expanded Medicaid entitlement. Could those cases also affect the religious-liberty lawsuits challenging the HHS abortion/sterilization/contraception mandate, which are now pending in many federal district courts? The short answer is: Maybe.

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Contraceptive mandate uniting people of all religious and political stripes

Newsweek commentary by Mary Kate Cary

March 29, 2012

That HHS ruling brought home what everyone already suspected about the president's healthcare law: that it is confusing, unnecessary, massive in scope, full of coercive mandates, and will increase costs. And as the implementation stage of the law unfolds, this mandate will be only the tip of the iceberg.

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No mandate exemption for religious groups

Washington Times commentary by Richard Doerflinger

March 7, 2012

The Washington Times persists in reporting that the Obama administration has "agreed to exempt religion-affiliated universities, charities and hospitals" from its contraceptive coverage mandate ("Limbaugh apology garners bipartisan approval," Web, Sunday). However, this is not the case. On Feb. 10, the administration's controversial mandate and its incredibly narrow religious exemption were finalized "without change."

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HHS Sec.: Preventing babies saves money

Congressional testimony by HHS Sec. Kathleen Sebelius

March 1, 2012

Rep. Murphy: Who is going to pay for it? There’s no such thing as a free service.
Sebelius: The reduction in a number of pregnancies compensates for the cost of contraception. The overall plan according…
TFM: Now I just want to get this on the record, Mr. Chairman. So you’re saying by not having babies born, we’re going to save money on healthcare?
Sebelius: Providing contraception as a critical preventive health benefit for women and for their children reduces healthcare costs.

To view video, click "Read more" below

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House Judiciary Committee holds hearing on contraceptives coercion

"Executive Overreach: The HHS Mandate Versus Religious Liberty"

February 28, 2012

The Judiciary Committee held a hearing Feb. 28, 2012 entitled, "Executive Overreach: The HHS Mandate Versus Religious Liberty" Watch video clips:

  • Rep. Sandy Adams' exchange with witnesses Jeanne Monahan, Asma Uddin & Bishop Lori
  • Witness Jeanne Monahan's exchange with Chairman Lamar Smith
  • Witness Bishop Lori's exchange with Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner
  • Witness Asma Uddin's exchange with Rep. Trent Franks (Part 2)
  • Witness Bishop Lori's exchange with Rep. Ted Poe

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Contraception, Against Conscience

New York Times op-ed by Michael P. Warsaw

February 21, 2012

Religious liberty isn't even the only thing at risk; the mandate also threatens the financial viability of any organization that disagrees with the administration's politics. They could be forced to stop offering health insurance and be saddled with fines, which are immense competitive disadvantages. They'll have to take money away from their core missions to pay fines. They'll lose employees who can't afford to work for employers who offer no health insurance. They'll lose donors who are scared off by the penalties. The end result: organizations that agree with the administration or are willing to compromise their beliefs will thrive. Organizations that don't will shrink or die.

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Obama's epic blunder on birth-control mandate

Washington Post columnist Michael Gerson

February 13, 2012

The initial policy was a disaster. The partial retreat was more skilled. Obama's goal was not resolution but obfuscation. The contraceptive mandate was shifted from Catholic employers to insurance companies. Instead of being forced to buy an insurance product that violates their beliefs, religious institutions will be forced to buy an insurance product that contributes to the profits and viability of a company that is federally mandated to violate their beliefs. Creative accounting, it seems, can cover a multitude of sins.

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Sen. Marco Rubio interview on contraception mandate

FOX News video

February 8, 2012

FOX News host Greta Van Susteren interviews Florida Senator Marco Rubio about the administration's coercive contraception mandate.

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