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Republicans Fight For Religious Freedoms | Missouri Political News Service

Republicans Fight For Religious Freedoms

February 8th, 2012 by mopns · No Comments

Politico writes today, “Senate Republicans late Tuesday stepped up their assault on the White House’s politically volatile contraceptive coverage mandate, vowing to find some way of striking it if the administration didn’t roll back the rules itself. Using unusually strong language in a floor speech, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell called the new policy ‘abhorrent’ and said the administration had crossed a ‘dangerous line’ with its decision to require employers to offer birth control for free as a preventive health benefit in health plans, a decision that was part of the implementation of the 2010 health care reform law. . . . ‘Make no mistake: The Obama administration’s decision to force religious hospitals, charities and schools to comply with a mandate that violates their religious views is abhorrent to the foundational principles of our nation,’ McConnell said. ‘No one in the United States of America should ever be compelled by their government to choose between violating their religious beliefs or be penalized for refusing.’”

Another Politico piece notes, “Led by Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), senators have blasted the contraception ruling in floor speeches, at news conferences and in letters to top administration officials.” And CBS News adds, “Republicans are keeping up the pressure on the Obama administration to walk back its new rule on birth control coverage, with Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell warning today, ‘If they don’t, Congress will act.’”

In an editorial today, The Wall Street Journal looks beyond the mandate itself, pointing to the underlying problems of Obamacare. “The political furor over President Obama’s birth-control mandate continues to grow, even among those for whom contraception poses no moral qualms, and one needn’t be a theologian to understand why. The country is being exposed to the raw political control that is the core of the Obama health-care plan, and Americans are seeing clearly for the first time how this will violate pluralism and liberty.”

The WSJ editors write, “The Affordable Care Act itself is ambiguous about what counts as a religious organization that deserves conscience protection. Like so much else in the rushed bill, this was left to administrative discretion. What the law does cement is the principle that the government will decide for everyone what ‘health care’ must mean. The entire thrust of ObamaCare is to standardize benefits and how they must be paid for and provided, regardless of individual choices or ethical convictions. To take a small example: The HHS rule prohibits out-of-pocket costs for birth control, simply because Secretary Kathleen Sebelius’s regulators believe no woman should have to pay anything for it. To take a larger example: The Obama Administration’s legal defense of the mandate to buy insurance or else pay a penalty is that the mere fact of being alive gives the government the right to regulate all Americans at every point in their lives. Practicing this kind of compulsion is routine and noncontroversial within Ms. Sebelius’s ministry. That may explain why her staff didn’t notice that the birth-control rule abridges the First Amendment’s protections for religious freedom. Then again, maybe HHS thought the public had become inured to such edicts, which have arrived every few weeks since the Affordable Care Act passed. Bad call.”


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