After years and years of public comment and controversy, the Obama administration once again has chosen a Friday afternoon to quietly release yet another compromise on the HHS mandate.
This new compromise, like all the old ones before it, makes some progress but still does not go far enough — i.e., the government’s policy is still in violation of our right to enjoy the full expression of religious freedom under the First Amendment.
The biggest problem is that these new (80-page!) regulations still force private businesses (like Hobby Lobby) and business owners to pay for contraceptive (and abortifacient) coverage in their employee’s health plans. Once again the Obama administration is claiming to have the authority to decide who is entitled to have a religiously-formed conscience and who is (supposedly) not entitled to religious freedom.
Matt Bowman of Alliance Defending Freedom helpfully explains:
“All Americans, not just those in church organizations, are guaranteed freedom of conscience in their daily lives and work. The administration’s narrow gesture does nothing to protect many faith-based employers or religious families from the unconstitutional abortion pill mandate. The government has no business putting religious freedom on the negotiating table, or picking and choosing who is allowed to exercise faith,” he said.
“The administration must immediately abandon the idea that it has the power to withhold or dispense our fundamental freedoms to whomever it chooses. The mandate is losing in court. The only acceptable solution is for the administration to obey the Constitution and its legal duty to protect religious freedom,” Bowman added. (LifeNews)
It’s been almost a year now since the Obama administration first offered its offensive and anti-religious HHS mandate. One year later they’ve backed off a little (actually, this latest offering is still “proposed” — it is NOT law as it has NOT been entered into the official register of enacted laws) … but it’s still not enough.
Kathryn Lopez reports that the USCCB was not even consulted about this most recent “compromise” — that should tell us all we need to know.
Nothing short of full repeal of the HHS mandate will suffice.
Then the hard work of renewing the protections surrounding our right to the full expression of religious freedom must continue.
In the meantime, people of faith who own businesses or manage their own healthcare plan will continue to be fined, taxed, penalized and suffer legal harassment. That’s outrageous.
UPDATE — this latest HHS mandate is even worse than I originally thought. It also fails to protect non-profits like Catholic Charities and universities like Notre Dame! The Obama administration will go to any length to confuse and obscure the real issues here. The government shouldn’t need 80+ pages to respect our first amendment rights!