Protecting our first freedoms:
Faith, conscience and speech

Voice your values: Legislative action

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New HHS Mandate Cases: States Sue to Take Away the Little Sisters' Religious Exemptions


November 21, 2017

"On October 6, 2017, Health & Human Services issued a new rule with an updated, broad religious exemption that finally protected religious non-profits like the Little Sisters of the Poor, a group of Catholic nuns who care for the elderly poor. In its new rule, the government admitted that it broke the law by trying to force the Little Sisters and others to provide services like the week-after pill in their health plans that violated their religious beliefs. That result should mean that the end is near for the Little Sisters’ lawsuit. However, following the new mandate announcement, several states, including the States of California and Pennsylvania sued the federal government to take away the Little Sisters’ religious exemption. "

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Robert George reflects on Trump admin's latest religious liberty moves

Catholic News Agency

October 11, 2017

"Two sets of announcements by the Department of Justice and the Department of Health and Human Services issued Friday both promise to broaden religious freedom protections in the United States. The first announcement, by the HHS department, broadens the religious freedom exemptions to the department’s contraception mandate, which has been facing federal lawsuits from conscientious objectors since its introduction in 2011. The second announcement was a memo issued by the Department of Justice, in which Attorney General Jeff Sessions explained 20 legal principles all government agencies should consider when dealing with religious freedom concerns. Neither announcement will automatically resolve religious freedom cases currently within the court system.  In an Oct. 6 interview with CNA, Robert George, a professor of constitutional law at Princeton University and visiting professor at Harvard University, explained the implications of these two announcements for religious freedom supporters throughout the country. "


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A Win for Freedom of Conscience

National Review commentary by the Editors

October 11, 2017

"President Donald Trump announced new reforms that would broaden conscience exemptions to the Affordable Care Act’s contraception mandate, expanding protections beyond small and closely held businesses to publicly traded companies and other employers as well as extending protections not only to those with religious objections but to those with moral objections that are not specifically religious in nature. This is an excellent development: The overbearing contraception mandate was an assault not only on religious liberty but on the legal standing of private conscience itself. (The mandate included types of contraception that, as even the Obama administration’s FDA acknowledged, might instead operate post-conception to prevent implantation and thus kill the early embryo.)"

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Members of Congress Praise HHS Religious Freedom Accommodations

US Congress on HHS regs

October 6, 2017

Rep. Chris Smith (NJ-04), co-chair of the Bipartisan Congressional Pro-Life Caucus, applauded a new Health and Human Services regulation released today that provides relief to employers, such as religious organizations, schools, and family businesses, that had religious or moral objections to covering abortifacient drugs and contraception in employee health plans. "For years, the Obama Administration threatened religious charities, schools, and pro-life organizations with massive fines for living according to their convictions," said Smith. "Today's new regulation provides long-awaited regulatory relief to employers bullied by the Obama mandate. "Finally, the Executive Branch has returned to its job of protecting freedom of religion and conscience rather than threatening it." Following are statements from Members of Congress on the new regulation."

Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-WI) – press releasetweet

Senator James Lankford (R-OK) – press release

Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) – press release

Rep. Diane Black (R-TN) – press releasetweet

Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN) – press release

Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA) – press release

Rep. Robert Pittenger (R-NC) – press release

Rep. Pete Olson (R-TX) – press release

Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ) - tweet
Rep. Keith Rothfus (R-PA) – tweet
Rep. Sean Duffy (R-WI) – tweet
Rep. Luke Messer (R-IN) – tweet
Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) – tweet
Rep. Todd Rokita (R-IN) – tweet 1tweet 2tweet 3
Rep. Roger Williams (R-TX) – tweet
Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-TX) – tweet
Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) – tweet 1tweet 2
Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA) – tweet
Rep. Evan Jenkins (R-WV) – tweet0
Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R-GA) – tweet
Rep. Ralph Norman (R-SC) – tweet

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Trump Exempts Religious Employers from Birth Control Coverage

Christianity Today

October 6, 2017

More employers—including Christian-run businesses and nonprofits—can opt out of contraception coverage required under the Affordable Care Act thanks to new rules issued by the Trump administration. The regulations exempt employers who object to treatments like birth control pills, emergency contraception, and sterilization due to "sincerely held religious beliefs" or "moral convictions." "The new rule is a victory for common sense," said Mark Rienzi, senior counsel with Becket, which represents the Little Sisters of the Poor, a Catholic order that came to symbolize the religious opposition to the mandate. "The previous administration pursued a needless and divisive culture war ... It should be easy for the courts to finalize this issue now that the government admits it broke the law."

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Americans Still Wait for Trump to Protect Health-Care Conscience Rights

National Review commentary by Melanie Israel and Elizabeth Slattery

September 29, 2017

"The legislation creating Obamacare left lots of policy “details” to the discretion of the executive branch. And so the Department of Health and Human Services under President Obama decided to require insurance plans to cover abortion-inducing drugs, contraceptives, and sterilization. Commonly referred to as the “HHS mandate” or “contraception mandate,” that requirement conflicts with the beliefs of many employers, individuals, and religious organizations regarding the protection of unborn human life. They regard it as an intolerable burden. The Supreme Court has provided relief to closely held businesses and to certain religious institutions. But as long as the mandate is in place, many individuals and organizations still face a disturbing choice: Either violate their sincerely held religious or moral beliefs or pay steep fines and, perhaps, forgo offering or obtaining health insurance altogether. When President Trump took office, these people and those who sympathize with them hoped that he would make religious liberty great again. "

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The HHS contraception mandate is hurting our religious beliefs

The Hill commentary by Dr. Alveda King and Fr. Frank Pavone

August 11, 2017

This mandate, imposed on us and all Americans by the Obama administration, would force virtually every employer to include coverage for abortion-inducing drugs and contraceptives in health insurance policies, despite the objecting employers' sincerely held religious beliefs. We hold that the mandate is illegal, because believers should never be forced to choose between following their faith and following the law. President Trump, his administration and his party all agree with us, and we are grateful to them for that. Why then, some have asked, is it taking so long for the mandate to go away, despite the president's words and actions? As we've seen repeatedly, the left is ready and willing to sue the Trump administration for every step it takes, and has already threatened to sue if the HHS mandate is changed. The administration, therefore, is working hard to make sure that in changing this mandate, every "i" is dotted and every "t" is crossed so that when its actions are challenged in court, the administration will prevail and change can go into effect right away instead of being tied up in additional years of court battles.

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Why is HHS contraception order still standing? Trump said it 'would soon be over'

The Hill commentary by Cardinal Daniel N. Dinardo

August 4, 2017

"After meeting with President Trump in the Oval Office on May 4, I sat in the Rose Garden and listened as the president promised the Little Sisters of the Poor that their “long ordeal” with the government’s contraceptive mandate “would soon be over.” Yet here we are, nearly three months later, and the Health and Human Services (HHS) mandate still stands. For four years, the Little Sisters and many other faith-based nonprofit groups have patiently asked the government to do the right thing and let them serve the poor. In a pluralistic society like ours, people should be free to serve the common good without compromising their moral or religious convictions. The HHS mandate, requiring employers to cover contraceptive and abortion-inducing drugs and devices, has tested this country’s commitment to a healthy pluralism."

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The Continuing Threat to Religious Liberty

National Review commentary by Ryan T. Anderson

August 3, 2017

While there has always been disagreement about what religious liberty requires in particular cases, the idea of religious liberty as a fundamental human right has more or less been a consensus in America. It became controversial only in recent years as the government tried to force religious conservatives to violate their beliefs on sex and marriage, and as liberal advocacy groups decided that civil liberties aren't for conscientious objectors to the sexual revolution. That's why we saw the American Civil Liberties Union oppose Catholic nuns' attempt to get out of the Obamacare HHS preventive-care mandate, in which the Department of Health and Human Services required employers to provide insurance covering sterilization and birth control - including forms of birth control that prevent embryos from implanting in the uterus, thereby causing abortion. The HHS mandate garnered the most headlines, but it's far from the only flashpoint. In several jurisdictions, Catholic Charities and other faith-based adoption agencies have been forced to abandon their invaluable work simply because they want to place needy children only in homes with married moms and dads. The government calls that discrimination based on sexual orientation.

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Religious Freedom Attorneys Tell White House They Want Broader Exemptions for Contraceptive Mandate


July 26, 2017

The attorneys met with Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney this week, where they handed out a letter explaining the need to make the draft final. "Our clients have been litigating against the government's effort to punish business owners and ministry leaders for following their religious beliefs and moral convictions since 2013," said Matthew Kacsmaryk, Deputy General Counsel for First Liberty, in a statement. "As President Trump recognized in the Rose Garden on May 4, it is time to reaffirm ‘America's leadership role as a nation that protects religious freedom for everyone.' That starts by finalizing this draft interim final rule and ending years of litigation." One of the most notable cases to come out of the HHS mandate controversy was the Little Sisters of the Poor five-year battle with the Obama administration.

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U.S. bishops launch 2017 Fortnight for Freedom with New Video

United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

June 26, 2017

In a new video marking the beginning of this year’s Fortnight for Freedom, the U.S. bishops invited legal, religious, and other personalities to discuss the importance of religious liberty, and to address the struggle between the Little Sisters of the Poor and the HHS mandate of the Affordable Care Act.

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Trump's Rule on the HHS Contraceptive Mandate Ensures Religious Freedom for All

Inside Sources commentary by Travis Weber

June 12, 2017

A recently leaked draft rule indicating President Trump's response to President Barack Obama's oppressive contraceptive mandate made the rounds. In short, if it becomes the final rule, it is a big win for religious freedom. For nearly seven years, numerous for-profit and non-profit entities, religious institutions and others with conscientious objections to being forced to provide contraceptives and drugs and devices that can destroy human embryos have asked the federal government for a way out of providing them. They only asked to not be put in a position where they have to choose, as a price of following their conscience, between paying crippling fines that could shut them down or dropping the health care for all their employees. The draft rule simply tries to address all concerns. Organizations that want to provide contraceptives can, and the very few organizations that do not want to do not have to - in which case, the objectionable drugs and devices will still be provided, but from another source, such as a third-party administrator.

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The Man Behind Trump's Religious-Freedom Agenda for Health Care

The Atlantic

June 7, 2017

Roger Severino, the newly appointed head of its Office for Civil Rights, leads the office that could shape the future of two of the most high-stakes aspects of the health-care debate: abortion and contraception access and LGBT rights. OCR, as it's known, is responsible for investigating civil-rights violations in health-care settings, including discrimination on the basis of race, sex, religion, and national origin. Under Barack Obama, HHS faced religious objections to the Affordable Care Act's requirement that most employers cover birth control in their insurance plans, and OCR has dealt with the fall-out of those fights. It developed strict requirements for the language services hospitals have to provide to non-English speakers. Most controversially, it was responsible for interpreting Section 1557, the part of the health-care law that prohibits discrimination.

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Draft HHS Rule a Win for Religious Freedom

Members of Congress news release

June 7, 2017

Today, Congressman Diane Black (R-TN-06) joined with Reps. Jackie Walorski (R-IN-02), Martha Roby (R-AL-02), Virginia Foxx (R-NC-05) and Vicky Hartzler (R-MO-04) praising the leaked Health and Human Services (HHS) regulation that would exempt employers from providing contraceptive coverage for employees on the basis of moral or religious objection. Black, Walorski, Roby, Foxx and Hartzler released the following statements: "Obamacare has devastated religious organizations, schools, and businesses, forcing them to cover abortion-related services that violate their religious beliefs. Protecting religious liberty is a foundational principle of this country, and this draft rule is a victory against President Obama's assault on people of faith nationwide. Americans will no longer have to seek a burdensome exemption from the heavy hand of government, they will be left alone to practice their religion as they choose," said Congressman Black. "This leaked draft provides important exemptions for organizations with religious or moral objections to the HHS mandate," said Congresswoman Hartzler, who chairs the House Values Action Team. "In other words, religious charities like the Little Sisters of the Poor, faith-based universities, family-owned businesses, and individuals with moral objections will now be able to provide employees with health care policies consistent with their conscience and the organizations' mission.

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CMA Doctors Laud Administration's Common Sense Approach to Contraceptives and the First Amendment

Christian Medical Association news release

June 1, 2017

The nation's largest faith-based association of doctors, the Christian Medical Association (, today urged the Trump administration to follow through on a promised common sense contraceptives policy, outlined in a document leaked yesterday, that accommodates First Amendment freedom of religious exercise. Referring to the new policy draft, CMA CEO Dr. David Stevens noted, "The new common-sense policy makes clear that the federal government can and must pursue programs and establish policies in the context of respecting our First Amendment freedoms. Freedom2Care Director Jonathan Imbody noted, "If we let the government box in the faith community with unconstitutional restrictions on First Amendment freedom of religion like the Obama administration did, other administrations likewise can water down our freedom of speech, our freedom of the press and our freedom of assembly and petition. A threat to the First Amendment freedoms of one group is a threat to the First Amendment freedoms of every American."

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Trump admin keeps Obama rule requiring Little Sisters of the Poor to pay for contraception ... for now

LifeSite News story by Claire Chretien

April 25, 2017

The Trump administration's Department of Justice (DOJ) caused surprise today by signaling that it intends to continue the Obama administration's court battle with the Little Sisters of the Poor and other religious groups over the HHS contraception mandate, at least for the time being. While Trump had promised on the campaign trail to drop the provision, the DOJ has now asked the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals for 60 more days to negotiate with East Texas Baptist University and other religious institutions to find a solution to their religious liberty concerns. Becket Law's Eric Rassbach says that the time has come for the new administration to put the fight to rest for good. "The government has a chance to do the right thing here. It got it wrong for five years in these cases, almost six years," Rassbach told Catholic News Agency. "And they can do the right thing by dropping their appeals that are in favor of the mandate, and admitting that they were wrong on the issue of the contraceptive mandate, as applied to religious non-profits." Forcing the Little Sisters of the Poor to cooperate in the provision of contraception is "a hostility to religious liberty you will never see in a Trump administration," Trump wrote to Catholic leaders during his campaign.

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Mr. President" Don't Cave to Liberal Fearmongering. Protect Religious Freedom

Daily Signal commentary by Ryan T. Anderson

February 2, 2017

The religious freedom executive order instructs the secretary of the treasury to ensure that it does not revoke nonprofit tax status because a religious organization's ordinary religious speech deals with politics, or because it speaks or acts on the belief that marriage is the union of husband and wife, that a person's sex is based on immutable biology, or that life begins at conception. And to avoid any potential conflicts, the executive order explicitly states that it "shall be carried out ... to the extent permitted by law" and that any accommodation must be "reasonable." With those two clauses alone, the hyperventilating criticisms of the LGBT left are immediately rendered void. These protections take nothing away from anyone-they simply ensure that the public square remains open to all religious voices, even when those voices diverge from the government's view on contested questions. They protect diversity and pluralism and tolerance.

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For Some Faith-Based Institutions, Trump Represents a Reprieve

National Review Online commentary by Jim Towey

December 12, 2016

Perhaps more than any other sector in America, the ivory towers of academia are mourning the defeat of Hillary Clinton, the departure of President Barack Obama, and the election of Donald Trump. For our faith-based university, however, the changing of the guard cannot come soon enough. The Obama administration's sustained assault on religious liberty and the right of conscience, and the ineptitude of his White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships, had campuses and religious charities of conservative, religious orientation struggling to survive. President Obama threatened crippling fines if a college refused as a matter of conscience to make contraceptive services, including sterilization and abortifacient drugs, available in the health plans offered to its employees and students. The government's foreign-assistance apparatus required a pledge of allegiance to the LGBT and "reproduction freedom" agendas as a condition for grants.

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Supreme Court Delivers Bitter Pill on Religious Liberty

Reason commentary by A. Barton Hinkle

July 11, 2016

n one of its last orders of the term, the high court refused to hear a case brought by a family-owned drugstore in Washington state. The Stormans, who own Ralph's Thriftway, object to state regulations that force pharmacies to dispense certain drugs. A federal district court ruled in their favor, but the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned it. The Stormans asked the Supreme Court to hear their case, but the four liberal justices refused. Justice Samuel Alito wrote an irrefutable dissent, which fellow conservative justices John Roberts and Clarence Thomas joined. Alito makes it painfully clear that Washington's rules amount to blatant religious discrimination.In refusing to hear the Stormans' case, the Supreme Court has given states a green light to practice what the district court called a "religious gerrymander": They can single out deeply felt religious scruples as unworthy of consideration even while they accede to far less important objections, such as added paperwork. Alito calls the decision "an ominous sign." He's absolutely right.

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SCOTUS' Failure to Review Washington State's Coercive Regulation Disturbing

Rep. Randy Forbes and Sen. James Lankford

June 29, 2016

Congressman Forbes: "The Supreme Court's refusal to review Washington State's extreme and unnecessary regulations is, in the words of Justice Alito, "an ominous sign" for religious freedom in America. It is possible to both respect the religious beliefs of a pharmacist and also help customers secure the prescription they are seeking. As a nation founded on the fundamental right of religious freedom, the United States has a tradition of protecting the conscientious objector that has endured throughout our history, but the Court has done great damage to these protections by allowing Washington's regulation to stand."
Senator Lankford: "This decision by the Supreme Court denies the free exercise of religion as a fundamental human right. In order to exercise this right, individuals must be able to live out their faith in the public square; otherwise, the right is relegated simply to the freedom of worship. With this case, the Court put the right to contraceptives above the Constitutional right to the free exercise of religion. Conscience protection has always been honored in America, until now. This decision allows any government to compel a person to violate their faith or surrender their family business. That is un-American.

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Little Sisters of the Poor Win Big in Obamacare Case

Daily Signal commentary by Roger Severino and Elizabeth Slattery

May 16, 2016

It illustrates that the government could have accommodated the Little Sisters of the Poor all along without affecting contraceptive coverage, but chose not to. And it guarantees that the government cannot force the Little Sisters of the Poor and the other challengers to choose between violating their consciences as the government demands or face crippling fines and penalties. In the coming months, the lower courts will reconsider these challenges, but it is hard to see how the administration and the lower courts can find a way to get around the Supreme Court's unanimous order-making the decision a big victory for the Little Sisters of the Poor.

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Supreme Court Order in Priests for Life vs. HHS: Comments from Priests for Life

Priests for Life

May 16, 2016

Priests for Life, the first group of the 37 Supreme Court petitioners in Zubik vs. Burwell to challenge the HHS mandate in court, has responded to today's action by the Court in this consolidated case. Robert Muise, of the American Freedom Law Center, which has represented Priests for Life in this case from the beginning, explained, "The Court's action today continues to protect us from this unjust mandate, and from any punishment for not obeying it. It gives us a chance now to work out in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, whose ruling against us is now vacated, a solution that will continue to protect our religious freedom. As we have always said, because the very mission of Priests for Life is to advance a culture free from any kind of abortion, this organization continues to be a perfectly situated petitioner to object to the mandate."

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AUL Will Continue Fight to Protect Conscience as Supreme Court Returns Challenges ... to Lower Courts

Americans United for Life

May 16, 2016

In support of the Little Sisters of the Poor and the other religious non-profits, AUL filed our 29th amicus brief against the coercive HHS Mandate, which requires most insurance plans to provide coverage for life-ending drugs and devices.  In its brief, available here, AUL demonstrates that pro-life Americans are correct in objecting to the life-ending drugs included in the Mandate, detailing how the life of a new human being begins at fertilization (conception), that so-called “emergency contraception” has post-fertilization effects that can prevent a new, developing human being from implanting in the uterus and thus ending his or her young life, and that forcing the religious employers such as Little Sisters of the Poor and Priests for Life to facilitate and provide coverage for such drugs violates their First Amendment freedoms. AUL’s brief was filed on behalf of Association of American Physicians & Surgeons, American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians & Gynecologists, Christian Medical Association, Catholic Medical Association, Physicians for Life, National Association of Pro Life Nurses, National Association of Catholic Nurses, and The National Catholic Bioethics Center.

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US Supreme Court Vacates Ruling Against Christian Colleges

Alliance Defending Freedom

May 16, 2016

Alliance Defending Freedom represents five Christian universities whose cases were consolidated with those brought by 32 other plaintiffs, all objecting on religious grounds to providing abortion-inducing or contraceptive drugs through their healthcare plans.Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel David Cortman had this to say about today's decision: "Religious organizations have the freedom to peacefully operate according to their beliefs without fear of severe penalties by the government. The Supreme Court was right to protect the Christian colleges and other groups from having to pay fines or fill out forms authorizing the objectionable coverage. The government has many other ways to ensure women are able to obtain these drugs without forcing people of faith to participate in acts that violate their deepest convictions. We look forward to addressing the remaining details as we advance these cases in the lower courts."

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Little Sisters of the Poor win at Supreme Court

Becket Fund

May 16, 2016

Moments ago, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously decided to send back to the lower courts the case of the Little Sisters of the Poor, a group of nuns who care for the elderly poor. The Court's decision is a win for the Little Sisters and other groups who needed relief from draconian government fines. In its decision, the Supreme Court held that after its unprecedented call for supplemental briefing that the lower courts should again review the cases. "We are very encouraged by the Court's decision, which is an important win for the Little Sisters. The Court has recognized that the government changed its position," said Mark Rienzi, senior counsel at the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty and lead Becket attorney for the Little Sisters of the Poor. "It is crucial that the Justices unanimously ordered the government not to impose these fines and indicated that the government doesn't need any notice to figure out what should now be obvious-the Little Sisters respectfully object. There is still work to be done, but today's decision indicates that we will ultimately prevail in court."

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Supreme Court Request Gives Little Sisters Cause for Hope

Daily Signal commentary by Elizabeth Slattery

March 30, 2016

In an order Tuesday afternoon, the Supreme Court asked the petitioners and Obama administration to file supplemental briefs in the consolidated challenge to Obamacare’s requirement that nonprofit employers provide employee health insurance coverage that includes potentially life-ending drugs and devices. Now the parties have the opportunity to spell out for the Supreme Court how such a system could work without "hijacking" the Little Sisters' and other employers' insurance plans. This order may signal that a majority of the justices accept the challengers' sincerely held religious belief that the current regulatory scheme makes them complicit in sin.

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Little Sisters, Little Pills: It's All About Power

The Stream commentary by Cathy Ruse

March 24, 2016

If they follow their Catholic beliefs, the Little Sisters will have to pay the federal government a fine of $100 per employee per day. This fine bears no relation to the cost of the insurance coverage at issue. It is utterly punitive-intended to make the nuns bend the knee at the altar of a new god. The Supreme Court has upheld a right to contraception and abortion, but never the right to get them for free. This case is not about rights, it is about power. The administration gave an outright exemption to churches. It could exempt religious nonprofit schools and soup kitchens and the Little Sisters, too, but decided to keep them on the hook.

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Religious Liberty at the Supreme Court: Little Sisters of the Poor Take on Obamacare Mandate

Heritage Issue Brief by Sarah Torre

March 24, 2016

If religious nonprofit organizations fail to comply with the mandate, they face fines of up to $100 per affected employee per day. For the Little Sisters, that could mean up to $70 million a year in federal fines, a devastating burden for a religious order with a long tradition of begging for food and donations to offset the costs of caring for the elderly poor. The mandate makes a serious assault on the fundamental freedom of individuals and organizations who form the backbone of civil society: those who care for the sick, feed the hungry, educate the next generation, and provide shelter and counseling for the most vulnerable Americans. The government should not be permitted to coerce religious ministries like the Little Sisters of the Poor under threat of devastating fines.

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Jeanne Mancini's Remarks at Little Sisters of the Poor Rally

March for Life

March 24, 2016

The government does not have the right to declare that serving the elderly poor, or educating students from a religious mission, is supposedly not religious enough to count for exemptions granted to other church groups. With this definition, the government tried to define out of the heart of Christianity all of the religious groups like the Little Sisters of the Poor that serve those in need, educate about a culture of life, and share their faith with the world. In the words of one Christian leader, "even Jesus himself would not be religious enough to receive this exemption." It is un-American to be forced to participate in things you object to, regardless of what President Obama believes. This is a pivotal moment in US history.

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VIDEO: Little Sisters to the Supreme Court: We'll Have 'Nun of It'

Daily Signal commentary by Kelsey Harkness

March 23, 2016

In a rare public appearance, a group of nuns stood before the Supreme Court Wednesday to rally against a provision in the Affordable Care Act that they believe forces them to violate their deeply-held religious beliefs. The provision, often called the "contraceptive mandate," requires employers, including the Little Sisters of the Poor, to offer coverage for birth control, sterilization and abortifacients. The Daily Signal spoke to Sister Veronica Proffitt, who has served the sick and elderly with the Little Sisters of the Poor for more than 30 years. Watch the video to hear her story, along with others who attended the rally.

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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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Supreme Court Minus Scalia Has Healthcare Cases to Decide


February 16, 2016

The American Association of Physicians and Surgeons and the Christian Medical Association filed amicus briefs in favor of the Texas law. Given the medical risks of abortion, they argued, the restrictions on abortion clinics are reasonable. The other reproductive rights case, Zubik v. Burwell , centers on the mandate in the Affordable Care Act that health plans cover contraception. A group of religious organizations suing the government, which includes a nursing home chain operated by the Little Sisters of the Poor, does not want to do anything that makes them complicit in offering contraception coverage. The only medical societies to weigh in on this case so far are the American Association of Physicians and Surgeons and other groups opposed to abortion that say some forms of contraceptive amounted to abortion, given that life begins at conception.

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Broad support for pharmacists' freedom, near-unanimous opposition to Wash. state policy

Alliance Defending Freedom

February 8, 2016

Fourteen briefs have been filed with the U.S. Supreme Court that encourage it to weigh in on Washington state rules that force pharmacy owners and pharmacists to stock and dispense drugs contrary to their religious beliefs instead of allowing them to refer customers to other pharmacies and pharmacists as they are allowed to do in all 49 other states. The state allows referrals for a variety of reasons but singles out religiously motivated referrals as prohibited. "No one should be forced to choose between following their deepest religious beliefs and following an unjust, unneeded government mandate that targets only people of faith. The briefs filed with the Supreme Court agree that this kind of hostility to religion isn't constitutional or the least bit necessary," said Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Vice President of Legal Services Kristen Waggoner.

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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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Obama's Hypocrisy on Religious Freedom

The Daily Signal commentary by Melody Wood

January 21, 2016

Obama is correct. All Americans should be able to be free to live out their religious principles. Yet some of the greatest threats to religious freedom in America in recent years have come from policies he supports. The Obamacare contraceptive mandate, for example, has resulted in government persecution of an order of religious sisters. The Little Sisters of the Poor seek to continue their mission of serving the elderly poor while operating in accordance with their religious beliefs without fear of incurring government penalties. With the Obamacare requirement in place, they face millions in government fines for doing so.

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Washington Pharmacists Fight for Religious Rights

CBN News

January 5, 2016

A group of pharmacists in Washington state is appealing to the U.S. Supreme Court to protect their religious rights. They're fighting a ruling that lets the state force them to dispense drugs that may cause abortions, even though that violates their conscience. The group, including a Ralph's Thriftway Pharmacy in Olympia and two other pharmacists, says requiring them to dispense the Plan B drug infringes on their religious beliefs and is equivalent to involving them in abortion.

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Law Firm for the Little Sisters Asks Supreme Court to Hear Its Obamacare Case

Daily Signal

October 15, 2015

The Little Sisters of the Poor, an order of Catholic nuns who provide shelter and health care for the elderly poor, have filed a class action lawsuit against the Obama administration in order to be exempt from an Obamacare provision that requires employers to pay for abortifacient drugs, sterilizations, and contraceptives in their employee health plans. Daniel Blomberg, legal counsel for The Becket Fund, said the government is making the "odd" and "dangerous" argument that the Little Sisters "aren't religious enough" to qualify for the exemption. "It's hard to be more religious than the Little Sisters," Blomberg said. "The federal government has drawn a discriminatory line between the Little Sisters and the church they serve."


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The Next Religious Freedom Fight?

US News & World Report

October 1, 2015

A court battle in the Pacific Northwest has opened another front in the fight over religious liberty, raising questions over whether pharmacies are legally obligated to provide patients with emergency contraception despite moral objections. "The opponents to religious liberty keep escalating their demands," says Douglas Laycock, a law and religious studies professor at the University of Virginia School of Law. "People who are offended by religious opposition to emergency contraception may bring political pressure to enact such rules despite the lack of any need for them."

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Obama Administration Refuses Win-Win Religious Liberty Solution

The Federalist commentary by Lori Windham

October 1, 2015

The government could easily open those subsidies to any employees of religious groups who want the coverage not included in their employers' plan. This would satisfy the government's concerns, satisfy the ministries' religious beliefs, and ensure that Americans still receive vital services from groups like the Little Sisters. For that reason, the Eighth Circuit Court of appeals sided with religious ministries last week. Echoing a unanimous Supreme Court opinion on religious freedom, it said, "[I]f a less restrictive means is available for the Government to achieve its goals, the Government must use it."


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Antiabortion group beats Obamacare contraception rule in court

Washington Post

September 1, 2015

We are delighted that the court has ruled in our favor on this crucially important case," March for Life President Jeanne Mancini said in a statement. "The government should not be allowed to force organizations like the March for Life to have health insurance with drugs and devices that can cause an abortion."
"Pro-life organizations should not be forced into betraying the very values they were established to advance," enior legal counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom Matt Bowman said in a statement. "This is especially true of March for Life, which was founded to uphold life, not to assist in taking it."

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Little Sisters of the Poor Gets Short-term Relief From HHS Mandate

Townhall by Leah Barkoukis

August 24, 2015

The Little Sisters of the Poor has been through more than any faith-based charity should have to go through all to continue the noble work they're doing without violating their faith. But, for the time being at least, some good news has come their way. After the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit ruled that the group must comply with Obamacare's abortion mandate, The Little Sisters of the Poor found reprieve Friday morning after the Tenth Circuit issued an order temporarily safeguarding the group and other ministries from being forced to violate their faith. “The federal government doesn’t need the Little Sisters or any other ministry to help it distribute abortion-inducing drugs and other contraceptives,” Mark Rienzi, senior counsel of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which represents the Little Sisters, said in a statement.

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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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Administration Issues Final Contraceptive Mandate Rules In Defiance of Supreme Court

The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty

July 10, 2015

Today the Department of Health and Human Services announced that—despite losing repeatedly at the U.S. Supreme Court—it would continue trying to force religious nonprofits like the Little Sisters of the Poor to help distribute contraceptives, including the “week-after pill.” Today’s announcement comes after multiple losses in contraceptive mandate cases at the Supreme Court, including last year’s Hobby Lobby decision and Court decisions regarding the Little Sisters of the Poor and Wheaton College. "The government keeps digging the hole deeper," said Adèle Auxier Keim, Legal Counsel at the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty.

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Jeb Bush Casts Wide Net on Religious Liberty in Address


May 9, 2015

"I'm betting that when it comes to doing the right and good thing, the Little Sisters of the Poor know better than the regulators at the Department of Health and Human Services," Bush said. "From the standpoint of religious freedom, you might even say it's a choice between the Little Sisters and Big Brother - and I'm going with the Little Sisters." But even as he struck the conservative chords on religious freedom, Bush sought to position himself as a social conservative capable of reaching out to those of all beliefs. Bush declared that "some moral standards are universal" and can't be shifted by public opinion, referencing his opposition to abortion and his efforts to keep Terri Schiavo alive, as well as the need to fight sex trafficking and stand up for oppressed minorities.

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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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Freedom of Conscience Protected in Virginia


December 13, 2014

The pharmacist contacted the ACLJ after she received a notice stating that the Board of Pharmacy was initiating an investigation based on the complaint. We sent a letter to the Board asking that the case be closed and resolved in her favor "because her actions were fully consistent with Virginia law and regulations and, by the Complainant's own admission, did not harm the Complainant's daughter in any way." Our letter cited numerous previous cases in which we have represented pharmacists, nurses, and other health care professionals who conscientiously object, on religious or moral grounds, to personally participating in or facilitating the use of certain procedures or drugs because they end a human life.

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Will court force March for Life to pay for abortion pill coverage?

Alliance Defending Freedom

November 5, 2014

March for Life, the pro-life organization that holds its well-known annual march in Washington, D.C., is challenging the Obama administration's abortion-pill mandate, which forces employers, regardless of their moral convictions, to provide insurance coverage for abortion-inducing drugs, sterilization, and contraception under threat of heavy financial penalties through the IRS. "Pro-life organizations must be free to operate according to the beliefs they espouse," said Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Legal Counsel Matt Bowman. "March for Life was founded to oppose the tragedy of abortion - the very thing the government is forcing the organization to provide through its health insurance plan. The government cannot selectively punish organizations that wish to abide by their beliefs."

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Following evangelicals, traditional Catholics create a health insurance alternative

Religion News Service

October 6, 2014

Taking a cue from evangelicals, a group of traditionalist Catholics on Thursday (Oct. 2) unveiled a cost-sharing network that they say honors their values and ensures that they are not even indirectly supporting health care services such as abortion that contradict their beliefs. Christ Medicus Foundation CURO, as the group is called, will be financially integrated with Samaritan Ministries International, which was launched in 1991 by an evangelical home-schooling dad. The SMI network now serves 125,000 people and is exempt from the Affordable Care Act. "Think about the Gospels and how the Apostles lived," said CMF CURO director Louis A. Brown Jr. at the program's Washington, D.C., debut. "They very much shared and cared for each other.

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Obama Administration Doubles Down on Fight Against Nuns

Daily Signal commentary by Kelsey Harkness

September 9, 2014

The Obama administration has decided to continue its legal battle against Little Sisters of the Poor, a Catholic charity that objects to Obamacare's mandate that employee health plans cover contraceptives and abortion-inducing drugs. The order of Catholic nuns argues that the rule fashioned by the Department of Health and Human Services requires them to violate their religious beliefs by offering insurance coverage for 20 specific drugs and devices - some of which the nuns believe could destroy what they consider a human life.

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Obama Administration's Eighth Try on HHS Mandate and Religious Liberty Still Fails

The Daily Signal commentary by Sarah Torre

August 22, 2014

Under current regulations, a religious non-profit can sign what amounts to a "permission slip"directing their insurance company or administrator to cover the objectionable drugs and devices - a scheme most organizations believe still makes them complicit in a gravely immoral act. Under today's revision, objecting religious non-profits would instead send a letter to HHS. HHS would then direct the organizations' health plans to include the objectionable drugs and services. Numerous federal courts - including the Supreme Court - have seen through the current gimmick and granted temporary protection from the coercive mandate for religious non-profits in 31 cases.

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Federal Judge Strikes Down HHS Mandate for Baptist College

Citizen Link

August 14, 2014

"All Americans should oppose unjust laws that force people - under threat of punishment - to give up their freedom to live and work according to their beliefs," said ADF Senior Counsel Kevin Theriot. "Louisiana College is a Christian college that simply wants to continue to operate as a Christian college as it has since its founding in 1906. The court - in the first final ruling finding against the mandate that we are aware of - did the right thing in striking down the Obamacare abortion-pill mandate as it applies to Louisiana College's health insurance coverage."

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White House: More changes to contraception mandate coming

Washington Times

July 23, 2014

"If the government just kept us out of the process altogether of either triggering, authorizing, or in any fashion being the gateway for employees to receive coverage for objectionable practices, that would satisfy our concerns," said the Rev. Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life, a nonprofit, pro-life organization.

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Sens. Ayotte, Fischer: Stop Distorting Hobby Lobby Decision


July 16, 2014

Nothing in the Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby ruling denies a woman access to birth control, and attempts to misrepresent the facts of the case and its impact on women are divisive and damaging, say New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte and Nebraska Sen. Deb Fischer. "In the days since the Supreme Court's June 30 Burwell v. Hobby Lobby decision, we have been troubled by those who seem eager to misrepresent both the facts of the case and the impact of its ruling on women - all to divide Americans and score political points in a tough election year," the women wrote.

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Senator Blunt Debunks Democrats' False Claims Regarding Hobby Lobby Supreme Court Ruling

YouTube video

July 16, 2014

U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (Mo.) spoke on the U.S. Senate floor today to debunk false claims made by Senate Democrats regarding the Burwell v. Hobby Lobby U.S. Supreme Court ruling, which found that the Obama Administration infringed on Americans' First Amendment right to freedom of religion. Watch video.

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Senate bill would strip conscience protections, bishops warn

Catholic News Agency

July 15, 2014

“We are writing to state our strong opposition to the misnamed ‘Protect Women’s Health From Corporate Interference Act of 2014’ (S. 2578),” wrote Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore and Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley of Boston in a letter to all U.S. senators on Monday. "In short, the bill does not befit a nation committed to religious liberty. Indeed, if it were to pass, it would call that commitment into question," the bishops wrote. The proposed legislation would force employers with group health plans to cover any "specific health care item" mandated by federal law or regulations despite religious liberty protections.

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Reactions to Hobby Lobby Ruling

Public Broadcasting Service transcript

July 1, 2014

Ashley McGuire (The Catholic Association): Just because you're an employer doesn't mean you have to pay essentially fines or comply with something that violates your most deeply held beliefs. That doesn't mean that you're trying to deny anybody anything, but I think that that's our first freedom. The founders considered it our first freedom and for people of faith to feel like they can live in a diverse and pluralistic society and be respected for who they are, this is a huge victory.

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After Hobby Lobby, what's next?

Citizen Link commentary by Helen Alvare

June 25, 2014

What comes next? The answer is simple: the Little Sisters of the Poor. Just as Hobby Lobby headlined a group of for-profit businesses challenging the contraception mandate, the Little Sisters of the Poor headline a much larger group of non-profit ministries challenging the same mandate. The Little Sisters of the Poor are an international order of Catholic nuns founded by St. Jeanne Jugan. They take a vow of poverty and spend their lives caring for the elderly poor. They have thirty homes in the United States, where they care for the elderly and dying with love and compassion. Because of their commitment to the dignity of all human life, they cannot participate in a system that would provide contraception, sterilization, and abortion-inducing drugs.

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Catholic group exempt from contraceptives rule

Washington Post

June 5, 2014

President of the Catholic Benefits Association Baltimore Archbishop William Lori, said the group was formed to support Catholic employers in providing quality, cost-competitive and morally compliant health care benefits for their employees. "Yesterday's decision makes this a reality," Lori said. The owners of the Hobby Lobby won a favorable ruling in a similar lawsuit in the same federal court and at the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The chain of arts-and-crafts stores does not want to provide insurance coverage for certain forms of contraception that it finds objectionable on religious grounds.

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Doctors who oppose morning-after pill on conscience grounds face qualifications bar

[London] Telegraph

May 1, 2014

Doctors and nurses who object to providing controversial emergency contraception on moral or religious grounds are being barred from specialist professional qualifications under official guidelines. They class Roman Catholics and others motivated by pro-life beliefs as "ineligible" for important qualifications provided by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) even if they complete the training programme. It led to accusations that the Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare, a branch of the RCOG, is unfairly discriminating against medical staff who act on grounds of conscience.

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Abortion and the HHS Mandate

National Review Online commentary by Ramesh Ponnuru

March 27, 2014

During the oral argument Justice Kennedy asked whether, on the government's theory of the case, it would be permissible to force companies to cover abortion in their insurance policies for their employees. I think the answer to that question is clearly yes. And as Matthew Franck points out, the question is not a hypothetical one: The case itself concerns a company that objects to covering drugs that may cause abortion.

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Families fighting Obamacare's assertion of "pill-level power"

FOX News commentary by Jonathan Imbody

March 25, 2014

By transferring massive power to the administration's federal bureaucracy, Obamacare snatched away decision-making power not only from employers, but also from patients and physicians. Obamacare empowered ideologically driven Obama administration officials to make myriad healthcare decisions for us and our employers, literally down to the level of specific pills. The audacity of this pill-level government decision-making was exposed in the mandate under Obamacare that prescribes the provision of 20 specific contraceptives. The government-mandated, no-exceptions list includes four especially controversial items (Plan B, ella and two intrauterine devices--IUDs) that the FDA notes can end the life of a developing human being.

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Obama Administration Suffers A Drubbing In Hobby Lobby Arguments

March 25, 2014

An even bigger problem is the sheer contentiousness of contraception, especially morning-after pills and other methods that some say can cause the abortion of fertilized eggs and fetuses. At one point Justice Anthony Kennedy, the swing vote the Obama administration needs to win this case, asked Verrilli if "under your reasoning, a profit corporation could be required to pay for abortions."

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If the contraception mandate passes, it will ruin a core U.S. ideology

Washington Post commentary by Rick Warren

March 21, 2014

Does our Constitution guarantee the freedom of religion, or does it merely allow a more limited freedom to worship? The difference is profound. Worship is an event. Religion is a way of life.

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Argument preview: Religion, rights, and the workplace


March 20, 2014

The Green family members signed a formal commitment to run the two chains according to Christian religious principles. The owners and their stores do not object to every part of the contraceptive mandate, but they do object to the use of any drugs or intrauterine devices that — in the words of their lawyers — “end human life after conception.” There is, on the corporations' side, a brief by constitutional law scholars seeking to answer that constitutional challenge. That brief contends that RFRA is a valid exercise of Congress's legislative powers, and that nullifying the law "would threaten thousands of statutes that protect religious minorities." [see listing of briefs]

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Obama's blind spot on religious liberty

Washington Post commentary by Kathleen Parker

February 7, 2014

As Obama pointed out, there is a strong correlation between religious freedom and a nation's stability: "History shows that nations that uphold the rights of their people - including the freedom of religion - are ultimately more just and more peaceful and more successful." Since this is so, one wonders why the Obama administration is so dedicated to forcing people to act against their own conscience. By requiring through the contraceptive mandate that some religious-affiliated groups provide health plans covering what they consider abortifacient contraceptives, isn't the Obama administration effectively imposing its own religious rules? Thou shalt not protect unborn life.

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Obamacare and Religious Liberty Mandating Carcinogens as 'Women's Preventive Health'

National Review Online commentary by Dorinda Bordlee

February 1, 2014

The brief shows that the government's claim that religious-liberty rights must be violated in the interest of women's "preventive" health care is an empty and biased assertion. A robust body of widely accepted research that the government selectively ignored is surveyed in the amicus brief, showing that the mandated contraceptive drugs and devices significantly increase risks of serious disease, including HIV, stroke, and heart attack.

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The Obama administration vs. the Religious Freedom Restoration Act

National Review commentary by Romesh Ponnuru

January 8, 2014

But of course the employers are not going to court to stop employees from using contraception (or even resorting to abortion) should they wish to do so; they are merely trying to keep themselves from any complicity in it. A right not to be coerced into such complicity had never previously been asserted in court only because it had been taken for granted through the first two centuries of our country's existence.

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Obama vs. the Little Sisters

NRO commentary by Rich Lowry

January 7, 2014

It takes some doing to get embroiled in a court fight with nuns who provide hospice care for the indigent. Amazingly, the Obama administration has managed it. Its legal battle with the Little Sisters of the Poor is the logical consequence of Obamacare's conscience-trampling contraception mandate.

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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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Nuns off the hook for now

Freedom2Care blog by Jonathan Imbody

January 2, 2014

Capping off a disastrous year for the Obama administration and its signature healthcare law debacle, one of President Obama's own appointees to the Supreme Court said the Obama administration for now must put a hold on its drive to force nuns and other religious objectors to provide pills that can end the life of a developing human being.

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Contraceptive cases raise religious liberty issues


December 2, 2013

Nearly 100 companies, nonprofits and religious groups, including several Catholic dioceses, have challenged the birth control rule. The two cases the Supreme Court took involve commercial interests. "What it shows in taking on both cases is that the court is interested in hearing the full array of issues that were present in both petitions and the diversity in which Americans practice their faith in all types of business," said David Cortman of Alliance Defending Freedom, which represents Conestoga.

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On Embryo-Killing "Contraceptives"

Ed Whelan in National Review Online

December 2, 2013

Contrary to Greenhouse's assertion, the PRH brief establishes that the Hobby Lobby plaintiffs are right to believe that copper IUDs can operate to prevent implantation (and thus to kill the developing human embryo). The PRH brief also reveals, if backhandedly, that the state of the science on whether Plan B and ella can also operate to prevent implantation is not definitively settled-and thus, given their objections to facilitating the destruction of human embryos, amply justifies the Hobby Lobby plaintiffs in resolving the scientific uncertainty against providing coverage of Plan B and ella (in addition to copper IUDs).

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US bishops unanimously reaffirm opposition to HHS mandate

Catholic News Agency

November 14, 2013

They identified three ongoing concerns surrounding the mandate: a reduction of religious freedom to mere freedom of worship; the compulsion of Catholic ministries to participate in the providing of abortifacients, sterilization, and contraception; and the compulsion of Catholics owning for-profit businesses to act against Catholic teaching. Kim Daniels, spokesperson for the president of the bishops’ conference, said the statement shows that the bishops remain united and are not letting up on their efforts to secure religious freedom.

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The other Sebelius glitch

NY Post editorial

November 13, 2013

With this decision, three circuit courts have now upheld challenges to the mandate, against two that have ruled the other way. As Ed Whelan of the Ethics and Public Policy Center puts it: "It's a very safe bet that the Supreme Court will grant review soon to address the fundamental questions of religious liberty that these cases present."

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D.C. Circuit Ruling Against HHS Contraceptive Mandate

Ed Whelan in National Review Online

November 1, 2013

A divided panel of the D.C. Circuit ruled this morning, in Gilardi v. U.S. Dep't of Health and Human Services, that two brothers, Francis and Philip Gilardi, who own and operate a food-supply company are entitled under the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act to a preliminary injunction against imposition of the HHS mandate on contraception and abortifacients.

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Appeals court sides with business owners who challenged health care law contraceptive mandate

Associated Press

November 1, 2013

Writing for the majority, Judge Janice Rogers Brown wrote that the mandate "trammels the right of free exercise_a right that lies at the core of our constitutional liberties_as protected by the Religious Freedom Restoration Act." The Gilardis' lawyer, Francis Manion, senior counsel for the American Center for Law and Justice, an anti-abortion legal group that focuses on constitutional law, said he was pleased that the court accepted the "bulk" of his arguments, but will appeal the part of the ruling on the free exercise religious rights of corporations.

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EWTN and Alabama file new lawsuit against HHS mandate

National Catholic Register

October 28, 2013

Alabama's Attorney General Strange said in a statement, "I am proud to stand with EWTN to oppose this unconscionable mandate. Whatever we personally may think about contraception and abortion-inducing drugs, the government should not be in the business of forcing people to violate their religious convictions." Lori Windham, senior counsel for the Becket Fund, noted that the government's "accommodation" requires EWTN to contract with a third party to provide contraceptives and abortion-causing drugs on its behalf.

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Suit challenges HHS mandate on social justice grounds

Catholic News Agency

October 11, 2013

The owner of a U.S. manufacturing business is filing an appeal to the Supreme Court over the HHS mandate, both because it violates his religious beliefs and because it interferes with his ability to treat his workers justly. "I've never checked my faith at the door when I walked into the for-profit business arena" John Kennedy, owner of Autocam, told CNA Oct. 8, explaining that the company's generous health care benefits are "part of our mission as employers ... to treat our employees justly."

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What Obamacare means to Little Sisters of the Poor

Mario Diaz in Washington Times

October 10, 2013

For many on the outside looking in, Sister Bernard's devotion is unparalleled, but according to the Obama administration, she and her fellow laborers are not religious enough to deserve a "religious exemption" under Obamacare. Churches and other religious organizations are exempted, but not the Little Sisters of the Poor.

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Hercules One Step Closer to Religious Freedom

Kathryn Jean Lopez in National Review Online

October 3, 2013

The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld a district court order holding off enforcement of the Department of Health and Human Services abortion-drug, contraception, sterilization mandate, against Hercules, Inc., a family-owned HVAC business, which the Obama administration challenged. The Department of Justice has argued that the Newland family of Denver doesn't have religious liberty in "the marketplace of commerce."

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Obamacare mandates threaten religious freedom

John Kennedy column in USA Today

October 3, 2013

I write because the mandate is forcing me and my family to choose between the teachings of our faith and the operation of our business. It gives us three options, all of which are unconscionable according to our beliefs: (1) violate our faith by complying with the mandate and provide our employees with insurance that covers contraception and sterilization; (2) pay over $16,000,000 in fines per year, destroying our business and putting our employees out of work; or (3) cut our employees' health benefits so that we do not have to violate our beliefs. While the last choice would save our family and the company $5,000,000, we reject it because of the respect we have for our employees.

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DOJ: Defending Birth-Control Mandate Not Essential in Shutdown

Matt Bowman in National Review Online

October 2, 2013

The Obama administration has never been able to prove that merely having the freedom to decide whether to cover other people's abortion pills and birth control would cause some kind of catastrophe. But now the Obama administration is backhandedly admitting that the abortion-pill mandate is not the highest priority of government in the first place. If it were, defending it would not stop during a shutdown.

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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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For-Profit, Closely Held Corporations Cannot State Free Exercise or RFRA Claims

Nathan Adams in Religious Institutions Update

September 4, 2013

In Freedom from Religion Foundation, Inc. v. Shulman, the court ruled that the Freedom from Religion Foundation has standing to challenge the alleged policy of the Internal Revenue Service of not enforcing against churches and religious organizations the requirement of tax-exempt status that they not participate in or intervene in any political campaign on behalf of, or in opposition to, any candidate for public office.

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Critics of contraception mandate vow Supreme Court appeal

The Hill

August 14, 2013

Critics of the contraception mandate in President Obama's healthcare law said they will appeal to the Supreme Court after a federal appeals court declined to re-hear their case Wednesday. Alliance Defending Freedom, one of the organizations challenging the contraception mandate in the courts, said it will ask the Supreme Court to consider whether the mandate is unconstitutional.

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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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Fighting the war on mothers

World magazine

August 1, 2013

Helen Alvare, a George Mason University law professor, founded Women Speak for Themselves last year to combat the Obama administration's belief "that women care more about free birth control than freedom of religion." Alvare kicked off Thursday's rally with opening remarks before giving way to a string of speakers, many trained in the medical field.

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Five reasons why women care about HHS contraception mandate

Helen Alvare in Washington Post

August 1, 2013

Many of the religious institutions the mandate threatens were founded by religious women in order to pay attention to the people the mainstream ignored: females, slaves, immigrants, the poor.

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HHS Mandate Challenges Headed to Supreme Court?

National Catholic Register

July 31, 2013

The split decision, said legal experts, means that the high court will be under pressure to clarify whether free exercise rights protected under the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act apply to religious nonprofits as well as businesses like Conestoga, which is wholly owned by the Hahns, a Mennonite family. Kyle Duncan, general counsel for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, the public-interest group that represents Hobby Lobby, noted the dueling judicial rulings and predicted that other HHS for-profit cases before the Sixth and Seventh Circuits that await review would "deepen the split decision."

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Contraceptive mandate divides appeals courts

Washington Post

July 26, 2013

A federal appeals court ruling on Friday increased the chances that the Supreme Court in its coming term will need to settle whether secular, for-profit corporations must provide contraceptive coverage to employees despite the owners' religious objections. A divided panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit ruled that a Pennsylvania cabinet-making company owned by a Mennonite family must comply with the contraceptive mandate contained in the Affordable Care Act. "It looks like we're heading for a Supreme Court review," said Kyle Duncan, general counsel of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which is active in opposing the contraceptive mandate.

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The fight over contraception coverage


July 21, 2013

A new government healthcare mandate says that our family business must provide what I believe are abortion-causing drugs as part of our health insurance," Hobby Lobby founder David Green said last year in a opinion piece in USA Today. "Being Christians, we don't pay for drugs that might cause abortions. Which means that we don't cover emergency contraception, the morning-after pill or the week-after pill. We believe doing so might end a life after the moment of conception, something that is contrary to our most important beliefs. It goes against the biblical principles on which we have run this company since Day 1. If we refuse to comply, we could face $1.3 million per day in government fines."

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Critics raise questions over abrupt delay of ‘Obamacare’ 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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Religious leaders push for ObamaCare contraception mandate exemptions

Fox News

July 3, 2013

Leaders of religious groups representing more than 100 million Americans said Tuesday that religious institutions and business owners should not be forced to provide contraceptive coverage that violates their conscience. Rev. Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptists' public policy arm, said Tuesday that the administration's finalized rule on the mandate amounted to "word games and accounting tricks," with no exemptions for religious business owners.

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HHS Final Rule Still Requires Action In Congress, By Courts, Says Cardinal Dolan


July 3, 2013

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' final rule on its mandate that requires employee health insurance for contraceptives, including abortion-causing drugs, and female sterilization does not appear, on first analysis, to eliminate "the need to continue defending our rights in Congress and the courts," Cardinal Timothy Dolan ofNew York said July 3.

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Charade Continues with Obamacare HHS Mandate

Sarah Torre for Heritage Foundation

July 2, 2013

Like the administration's multiple previous attempts to "fix" the mandate, this final rule doesn't provide any workable or adequate solutions to the mandate's trampling on Americans' fundamental freedoms. At the renewal of health-plan years, employers still will be forced to facilitate coverage of abortion-inducing drugs, contraception, and sterilization - regardless of religious or moral objection to one or more of these practices.

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Christian College Is Granted Temporary Injunction Over HHS Mandate

National Catholic Register

June 21, 2013

Geneva College in Pennsylvania has been given temporary relief from having to provide emergency contraceptives in its health-insurance plans, as required by the federal contraception mandate. "The court has done the right thing in allowing Geneva College to suspend the enforcement of the Obama administration's abortion-pill mandate for the student health plan while the case moves forward," said Gregory Baylor, senior counsel at Alliance Defending Freedom, which represents the college.

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This Won't Turn Out Well

Weekly Standard commentary by Ashley McGuire

June 12, 2013

On August 1, the one-year "safe harbor" for religious charities objecting to provisions of Obamacare will end. Starting then, these nonprofit employers will be forced to violate their religious beliefs or pay large fines. In charge of collecting the fines will be our recently newsworthy friends at the Internal Revenue Service.

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Hobby Lobby appeal tests limits of federal birth-control coverage mandate


May 23, 2013

In the most prominent challenge of its kind, Hobby Lobby Stores Inc. asked a federal appeals court Thursday for an exemption from part of the federal health care law that requires it to offer employees health coverage that includes access to the morning-after pill. The Oklahoma City-based arts-and-crafts chain argued that businesses - not just the currently exempted religious groups - should be allowed to seek exception from that section of the health law if it violates their religious beliefs.

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How the FDA’s Plan B Decision Puts Minors At Risk

Anna Franzonello in National Review Online

May 1, 2013

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.

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Explaining the Outliers in the HHS Mandate Cases

Mark Rienzi in Virginia Law Review

April 22, 2013

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.

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President Obama’s Dangerous Precedent

National Catholic Register editorial

April 21, 2013

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."

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On “Emergency Contraceptives” and Religious Liberty

Ed Whelan in National Review Online

April 18, 2013

...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.

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Thomas More Law Center Files Fourth Court Challenge to HHS Mandate

March 21, 2013

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.

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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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God and the Profits: Is There Religious Liberty for Money-Makers?

Mark Rienzi, Columbus School of Law, CUA

March 7, 2013

This article offers a comprehensive look at the relationship between profit-making and religious liberty, arguing that the act of earning money does not preclude profit-making businesses and their owners from engaging in protected religious exercise.

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Protecting the Many Victims of Obamacare

Sarah Torre, The Foundry - Heritage Foundation

March 7, 2013

"The health-care law puts my family in an impossible dilemma," explains Carrie Kolesar, part owner of Seneca Hardwood Lumber Company in Cranberry, Pennsylvania, which is suing over the mandate. "[W]e have to choose between violating our freedom of conscience and giving up freedoms protected under the Constitution, or facing severe government penalties that will harm our families and put us out of business. No American should be faced with a decision like that."

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Proposed Health Care Conscience Rights Act — ‘Last and Only Hope’?

National Catholic Register

March 5, 2013

Cathy Cenzon-DeCarlo, a New York state nurse who was forced to participate in an abortion at 22-weeks gestation or risk losing her job and nursing license, told members of Congress that the experience still haunted her dreams. Cenzon-DeCarlo was among several Catholic women who were invited to a March 5 briefing for House members on the proposed Health Care Conscience Rights Act of 2013.

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Birth Control Mandate Threatens Religious Freedom

Frank Wright in Christian Post

March 3, 2013

"Restrictions on religious freedom anywhere, are threats to religious freedom everywhere," said Wright, who has guided the National Religious Broadcasters for the past 10 years.

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Congressmen: Obama Admin Can’t “Pick and Choose” Who Gets Religious Freedom

Sarah Torre in The Foundry - Heritage Foundation

February 26, 2013

On February 19, nine U.S. Senators and two U.S. Representatives joined a “friend of the court”brief in Hobby Lobby’s 10th Circuit Court appeal over the Obamacare anti-conscience mandate, highlighting the Obama Administration’s refusal to recognize business owners’ religious freedom. The congressional brief explains that the federal government “may not pick and choose whose exercise of religion is protected and whose is not.”


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Members of Congress File Legal Brief on HHS Contraception Mandate

Orrin Hatch

February 20, 2013

"Religious freedom is an issue our country was founded on, and it's not a Democrat or Republican issue. Unfortunately, the Obama Administration has time and again ignored calls to stop the implementation of a policy some organizations or businesses are morally opposed to."

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HHS Wars: Nothing Has Changed

Connie Marshner in Independent Women's Forum

February 20, 2013

The so-called HHS "accommodation" earlier this month on the HHS mandate is just that: so-called. It was 80 pages of text to say: nothing has changed. Nothing for the better, that is. The bureaucratic finagling may well have given a kick in the solar plexus to private business.

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Not a Real Olive Branch: Obama’s phony compromise on contraception

Wesley. J. Smith in The Weekly Standard

February 11, 2013

The issue here is not contraception, but the demolition of limited government. If the Obama administration can force the private sector to provide a free product to help the government circumvent a constitutionally protected freedom, what can it not do?

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HHS ‘accommodation’ nothing more than a gimmick

Leonard Leo in The Washington Times

February 8, 2013

We are now entering at least Round Three in the administration's ongoing efforts respecting abortion and contraception services under Obamacare, and it is dividing Americans in a culture war that smacks more of politics than a well-intentioned crusade for women's health.

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HHS: Preventing babies cheaper

Jonathan Imbody in The Washington Examiner

February 7, 2013

The administration claims -- without proof -- that it's justified forcing insurers to provide products and services for free because it will be cheaper to prevent babies than to deliver them.

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Wassup with the HHS Mandate?

Kim Daniels in National Review Online

February 6, 2013

Most objecting religious employers are in the same position they were before Friday, faced with a choice between giving up their religious beliefs or facing crippling government fines.

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Abortion pill mandate gives the illusion of compromise

Alan Sears in The Washington Examiner

February 6, 2013

The Obama administration is attempting to divide the faith community by issuing a minor amendment to Obamacare's abortion pill mandate. The mandate itself forces employers, regardless of their religious or moral convictions, to provide insurance coverage for abortion-inducing drugs, sterilization and contraception under threat of heavy penalties.

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Obama’s new contraception rules try to fool Catholics

M. Gerson in Washington Post

February 6, 2013

The administration has never shown a particularly high regard for institutional religious liberty. In this case, the administration views access to contraception as an individual right to be guaranteed by the government, and institutional religious rights as an obstacle and inconvenience. But the First Amendment, it is worth remembering, was designed as an obstacle and inconvenience to the government.

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Missed opportunity on the HHS mandate

Kim Daniels in Catholic Voices USA

February 5, 2013

The administration admits as much, stating that "this proposal would not expand the universe of employer plans that would qualify for the exemption beyond that which was intended in the 2012 final rules." In other words, colleges, hospitals, and most social service organizations are still not exempt from the mandate.

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New Obama rule would spare churches but not believers

The Washington Examiner

February 3, 2013

It remains remarkable that the Obama administration ever thought it appropriate to create a religious exemption so narrow and meaningless that even Catholic Charities, the Catholic University of America and the Archdiocese of Washington would not have qualified.

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Hobby Lobby president expects long court battle over federal contraceptives mandate

Charlotte News-Observer

January 18, 2013

Hobby Lobby maintains that some birth control products, such as the morning-after pill, are equivalent to abortion. The company has sued the government on religious freedom grounds. Hobby Lobby still potentially faces millions in fines for not following the mandate. With 13,000 employees and a proposed fine of $100 per employee per day, that would equate to $1.3 million in daily fines.

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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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Judge rejects Pa. firm's health care law challenge

San Francisco Chronicle

January 13, 2013

A federal judge has rejected the argument of the Mennonite owners of a central Pennsylvania furniture manufacturing company that new health care requirements that they pay for employees' contraceptive services violate their free speech and religion rights.

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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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Judicial Theocrats Against Religious Liberty

NRO commentary by Ed Whelan

January 3, 2013

In a Public Discourse essay titled "The HHS Mandate and Judicial Theocracy," Melissa Moschella nicely explains how appalling it is that some judges ... have somehow seen fit to impose on religious believers the judge's own view on what constitutes improper complicity in immoral conduct.

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The Seventh Circuit Blocks the HHS Mandate for a Private Business


December 29, 2012

Late yesterday afternoon, the Seventh Circuit granted an emergency injunction against the HHS mandate - preventing its enforcement against an Illinois business and its owners.

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Hobby Lobby faces millions in fines for bucking Obamacare


December 27, 2012

Craft store giant Hobby Lobby is bracing for a $1.3 million a day fine beginning January 1 for noncompliance with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, dubbed Obamacare. "It's just so sad that Hobby Lobby is facing this choice. What company, even a successful family owned business like Hobby Lobby, how can they afford the government $1.3 million in fines every day? It's just really absurd that government is not giving on this," said Maureen Ferguson, a senior policy adviser for the Catholic Association.

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Eighth Circuit Injunction Against HHS Mandate

NRO article by Ed Whelan

November 30, 2012

I'm pleased to pass along that an Eighth Circuit panel has, for now, overridden the badly confused decision (O'Brien) from Missouri that denied a Catholic employer injunctive relief against the HHS mandate.

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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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Another Victory for Challengers of HHS Mandate

NRO commentary by Ed Whelan

November 19, 2012

The HHS contraceptive mandate suffered another loss last Friday—its third loss in the four decisions that have addressed the merits of the claim that the HHS mandate violates the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). In a thorough opinion in Tyndale House Publishers v. Sebelius, Judge Reggie B. Walton of the federal district court for the District of Columbia granted a preliminary injunction that bars the federal government from penalizing a publishing house for its religiously based refusal to provide insurance coverage for contraceptives that also operate as abortifacients.

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Religious conservatives’ uphill battle

M. Gerson commentary in Washington Post

November 15, 2012

President Obama's first term was a period of unexpected aggression against the rights of religious institutions. His Justice Department, in the Hosanna-Tabor case, argued against the existence of any "ministerial exception" to employment rules. Obama tried to mandate that Catholic schools, hospitals and charities offer insurance coverage for contraceptives and abortifacients. His revised policy still asserts a federal power to declare some religious institutions secular in purpose, reducing them to second-rate status under the First Amendment.

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AUL Files to Protect Religious Freedom in Suit Against Obama Administration

AUL commentary by Mailee Smith

November 13, 2012

Americans United for Life (AUL) filed a brief today in Nebraska v. Health and Human Services, a case initiated by the state of Nebraska and six other states challenging the Obama Administration's "HHS Mandate," which requires that employers provide insurance coverage for all forms of FDA-approved "contraception," including life-ending drugs and devices classified as "emergency contraception."

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Carney: Re-elected, Obama takes aim at religious liberty

Washington Examiner

November 11, 2012

The Obama administration this month, in defending its health plan's contraception mandate, articulated a narrow view of the First Amendment's religious liberty protections. Obamacare requires employers to pay for contraception and sterilization coverage. This includes coverage of "morning-after" contraceptives, whose makers admit the drugs can kill a fertilized egg by preventing or "affect[ing]" implantation.

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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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Another Catholic Business Protected Against Free Birth Control Rule

NRO commentary by Wesley J. Smith

November 1, 2012

Good news. Contrary to the O'Brien case in St. Louis, and consistent with the Hercules case in Colorado, a judge has protected a Catholic-owned business from having to comply with Obamacare's Free Birth Control Rule. First, since the company is owned by a Catholic family, it substantially burdens their faith.

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Obama Administration: Business owners have no religious freedom rights


October 29, 2012

Lori Windham, Senior Counsel for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, the non-profit, public interest law firm that represents Hobby Lobby, said, "The Green family is asking to continue to live their faith by not paying for drugs that might cause abortions." Windham charged that the DOJ is claiming "that the Greens must comply- and pay for abortion-causing drugs- or pay millions of dollars in fines."
Windham observes that the Obama administration has already exempted others from health plans, yet it is forcing a family-owned business to violate the tenets of that family's faith.

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The ‘Contraception’ Controversy Unmasked

National Review

October 26, 2012

Christen Varley: "The Obama administration, supporters of the mandate, and the media want us to believe this is simply about access to contraception. It’s been largely ignored that there are abortion-inducing drugs included in the mandate. We want to make sure people understand all that is being required. It helps explain why more people than just Catholics are up in arms about it — and in court about it, too.

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Family Research Council May Challenge HHS Contraceptive Mandate

Citizen Link article by Bethany Monk

October 25, 2012

The Texas-based legal firm Liberty Institute sent a letter Tuesday to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) asking officials to clarify whether the Family Research Council (FRC) must offer contraceptives and possible abortion-inducing drugs under its employee health care plan.
FRC - a nonprofit group in Washington, D.C. non-profit organization dedicated to advancing faith, family and freedom in public policy and the culture from a Christian worldview - is one of many similar groups nationwide that falls into a gray area under the HHS rule, issued earlier this year.

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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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Debunked: Biden Claims HHS Mandate Not an Assault on Religious Liberty

Heritage Foundation commentary by Sarah Torre

October 12, 2012

The real "fact" about the anti-conscience mandate is that it applies to almost all employers-including many religious organizations such as hospitals and social service providers. It requires them to provide coverage that pays for abortion drugs, contraception, and sterilization regardless of moral or religious objections.

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Obama Commitment to Religious Freedom ‘Worrisome’

Washington Times commentary by Paul Rondeau

September 28, 2012

The unelected Secretary Sebelius of HHS then imposed rules that redefined religious freedom to the point that, as Cardinal Wuerl explained, "HHS's conception of what constitutes the practice of religion is so narrow that even Mother Teresa would not have qualified."

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HHS mandate allows minors free contraception, sterilization


September 25, 2012

Minor children on their parents' health care plans will have free coverage of sterilization and contraception, including abortion-causing drugs, under the controversial HHS mandate - and depending on the state, they can obtain access without parental consent. Matt Bowman, senior counsel for the religious liberty legal group Alliance Defending Freedom, said the mandate "tramples parental rights" because it requires them to "pay for and sponsor coverage of abortifacients, sterilization, contraception and education in favor of the same for their own children."

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Thousands join grassroots women's movement opposing HHS mandate


September 23, 2012

Thousands of women across the country are leading grassroots efforts to make their voices heard in opposition to the federal contraception and sterilization mandate. The Women Speak for Themselves movement is driven by “things that women are deciding to do on their own,” said Meg McDonnell, who has been assisting the group from early in its existence.

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Illinois cannot make pharmacists give 'morning after' pill: court


September 21, 2012

An Illinois appellate court Friday affirmed a lower court finding that the state cannot force pharmacies and pharmacists to sell emergency contraceptives - also known as "morning after pills" - if they have religious objections. "This decision is a great victory for religious freedom," said Mark Rienzi, senior counsel for the Becket Fund, quoted in a statement about the decision.

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Wheaton HHS lawsuit dismissed

World Magazine

August 27, 2012

"The government has now re-written the 'safe harbor' guidelines three times in seven months, and is evidently in no hurry to defend the HHS mandate in open court," said Kyle Duncan, general counsel for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which represents Wheaton.

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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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Wheaton College suit prompts change in contraception ‘safe harbor’

Chicago Daily Herald

August 17, 2012

Hannah Smith, senior counsel for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which is representing Wheaton College and The Catholic University of America in the jointly filed suit, said, "They have rewritten the guidelines so that the 'safe harbor' says if you took measures before Feb. 10, 2012, to correct any inadvertent coverage of these contraceptive drugs, these abortion-inducing drugs, then you will still qualify for the 'safe harbor.'"

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Now is the time to act on the HHS mandate

CNA commentary by Most Rev. James D. Conley

August 16, 2012

Unless Catholics continue to fight in the courtroom, in the voting booth, and on our knees in prayer, religious liberty in the United States will quickly erode and fade into the annals of our history. Now is the time to protect the legacy that began the American experiment. Now is the time to bring religious freedom to the forefront of the American legal system once more.

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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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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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Abortion, Conscience, and Health Care Provider Rights

Public Discourse, by E. Christian Brugger

July 26, 2012

This framework—our moral knowledge—is not merely an affectively supported matrix of subjective beliefs, but the basic apprehension of a set of propositions asserting truths pertaining to what is good, choiceworthy, and consistent with human well-being. 

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HVAC and the HHS Mandate

NRO interview with Matt Bowman

July 26, 2012

The basic principle in this case is the same as in other cases: that Congress does not let federal agencies punish people of faith for abiding by their faith, without passing the most demanding test known to federal law. We believe that in this case the government does not even come close to justifying its refusal to exempt religious objectors. This is because Congress provided secular exemptions for millions of employees, and it could easily give out more free contraception itself if the political will existed.

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Challenges to Obama administration’s 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 President’s 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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The HHS Mandate: Not an Academic Debate

National Review commentary by K.J. Lopez

July 20, 2012

For Wheaton, the violation of conscience lies in the inclusion of abortion-inducing drugs in the HHS mandate — further evidence that at the heart of the debate is not access to contraception but the erosion of religious liberty. “We were surprised that the federal government is using the term ‘contraception’ to refer to drugs that are widely recognized as having an abortive effect,” Ryken explains. “The secretary of Health and Human Services has been on record publicly as saying these are drugs that prevent implantation of a fertilized egg."

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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, Don’t 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 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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Obamacare’s Many Victims

Heritage Foundation commentary by Sarah Torre

July 5, 2012

Obamacare’s anti-conscience mandate displays the Administration’s offensively constricted view of faith in public life, affording the narrowest religious exemption in federal law that effectively only applies to formal houses of worship. Schools, soup kitchens, health clinics, and countless other “Good Samaritan” groups are left completely unprotected by the exemption simply because they serve vulnerable individuals without regard to their creed or background.

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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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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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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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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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Pregnancy, Preventive Services and Cost Saving: An Ethical and Economic Mirage

Commentary by Chuck Donovan, Charlotte Lozier Inst.

June 27, 2012

Without the ability to track the value of investment in human capital and the return on an individualized basis, the presumed cost-savings of family planning even to government is a pseudo-statistic that depends on an extremely narrow frame of reference and a deterministic, faintly eugenic theory of human development.  Numerous nations that have experienced sharp drops in fertility are facing crises of aging that threaten the viability of their economies and government services across the board.

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What's Behind The Mandate?

Crisis Magazine commentary by Gerard Bradley

June 26, 2012

It is easy to see already that “equal sexual liberty” is a natural predator of Catholic institutions, which are standing contradictions of almost all that the new orthodoxy proposes. What is not so apparent, however, is why the new orthodoxy has so totally eclipsed considerations of conscience, tolerance, and liberty in the thinking of self-identifying liberals such as Barack Obama.

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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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"Accommodation" Fails to Protect Religious and Moral Conscience

Heritage Foundation commentary by T. Messner and E. Haislmaier

June 19, 2012

Though the ANPRM states that insurance issuers would be prohibited from charging a premium for the separate contraceptive coverage, there is no reason to believe that insurance issuers would not raise premiums on other services to compensate for the coverage they are forced to provide for “free.” Indeed, state-level insurance regulation is properly focused on ensuring that issuers charge enough in premiums to cover expected claims costs, and failing to adjust premiums to pay for mandated services could undermine the financial solvency of insurers,

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Emergency Contraception: We need an unbiased review of the facts

Family Research Council blog by Jeanne Monahan

June 7, 2012

In the end, this conversation requires caution and continued unbiased research. The difference between preventing and destroying life is immensely significant to women who choose to take these drugs. Women have the right to know about all of the scientific research, not merely the research supporting an individual ideology.

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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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ObamaCare and the War on the Church

Commentary magazine article by Jonathan S. Tobin

May 31, 2012

Allowing their institutions to abstain from providing contraception coverage does not make the church a law unto itself or impose its views on others; it merely leaves them alone.

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Religious liberty at stake in battle over contraception rule

CNN commentary by Mary Matalin

May 25, 2012

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." This is the first line of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Apparently, this now only applies to the certain instances for which President Barack Obama sees fit.

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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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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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Catholics nationwide preparing 'Fortnight for Freedom' events

Catholic News Agency

May 20, 2012

Various initiatives are planned throughout the country in response to the U.S. bishops' call for a "Fortnight for Freedom" June 21-July 4 to encourage prayer, education and public action about religious freedom. The initiative was created in response to several moves by the Obama administration that are threatening the Church's religious freedom.

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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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Ringing a Bell for Liberty

National Review Online interview: Archbishop Charles J. Chaput

April 2, 2012

"Nothing guarantees that America's experiment in religious freedom, as we traditionally know it, will survive here in the United States, let alone serve as a model for other countries in the future," Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Philadelphia writes in the new e-book, A Heart on Fire: Catholic Witness and the Next America.

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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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Put on your shoes; we can win this one

Breakpoint commentary by Chuck Colson:

March 19, 2012

This is a battle that is both crucial and winnable. The important thing is to keep the focus on where it belongs: religious freedom. The early polls where a reaction to the media's initial announcement that this was all about contraception, but the Catholic Bishops and everybody else has been working hard to educate them. And you need to continue to educate people that this is about religious liberty.

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If they can do this, what can they not do?

Kansas City Star commentary by E. Thomas McClanahan

March 10, 2012

The White House has needlessly bought itself a great deal of trouble and a likely Supreme Court case. As with so much that this administration has done, the latest debate again prompts the question: If they can do this, what can they not do?

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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

To view text, visit,24,135&itemid=1959 


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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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