The White House is trying to frame its latest “preventive care” mandate as a right to contraceptives. In fact, this is about the fundamental issue of the founding principles of this country and the meaning of the Constitution’s protection of our rights.
Rep. Kathy Hochul (D-NY) learned during a recent town hall meeting that her constituents appear to understand this fact better than she does.
In this short video excerpt from the meeting, one of Rep. Hochul’s constituents asked, “Under what portion of the Constitution is the government allowed to require a private or religious organization to pay for anything for free?”
Rep. Hochul responds: “Well basically we’re not looking at the Constitution on that aspect.”
The audience erupts! And she continues to be backed into a corner by her constituents who clearly understand the larger issues at stake.
The American people do understand that this is about much, much more than the federal government requiring religious organizations to provide and pay for procedures and products that they find morally wrong. They understand that this is about who we are as a country.
Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) and Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE) have proposed legislation to restore First Amendment protections and assure people they will not be forced to follow a government dictate that would violate their conscience and religious beliefs. The Senate is expected to vote this morning on the Blunt amendment.
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has been vociferous in objecting to the Obama administration’s demand that health plans must cover contraception, sterilization, and drugs that cause early abortions at no cost to patients. The concession to the bishops was that the health insurance companies would instead provide them for “free,” separately from the church organizations’ health benefit plans.
But the administration’s proposed “accommodation,” announced on Feb. 10, does nothing to allay the fears of religious organizations. In a letter issued this week, the Bishops said the proposal “would still force our institutions to violate their beliefs.” Further, they said it provides no escape for health insurers or employers who object but are not religiously affiliated, and for individuals.
More than 2,500 evangelical and ministry leaders from a wide range of religious denominations signed a letter voicing their opposition to the administration’s new mandate. The Family Research Council unveiled the letter last week, demonstrating that this is not just a threat to Catholics but to the beliefs of others. Anyone could be next.
America was founded on the principle that we can, as free people, express our religious and moral values with the knowledge that we are protected by the U.S. Constitution. The administration’s mandate violates the First Amendment and tramples on religious freedom.
ObamaCare is so fundamentally at odds with the principles upon which this nation was founded that the court challenges to the law will be endless.
UPDATE: The White House may have succeeded in this first round by framing this as a fight over the right to free birth control pills. But the American people understand that this is really about the fundamental issue of the founding principles of this country and the meaning of the Constitution’s protection of our religious liberty. They will not allow the First Amendment to be trampled, and this battle will continue.