This past January, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius issued a controversial statement to affirm a final rule requiring “most insurance plans to cover preventive services for women including recommended contraceptive services…”
These services include providing FDA-approved drugs like Plan B-the morning after pill and Ella-the week after pill.
Secretary Sebelius also gave nonprofit employers an additional year to comply or be set for consequences.
At the time of the statement, many high ranking officials in the Catholic Church as well as businesses owned by Catholics like hospitals expressed their concerns that the mandate violates their 1st Amendment right to freedom of religion. Many Catholics oppose what they call “artificial contraception.”
I personally wrote in an editorial sharing my concerns that this was a violation of the 1st Amendment.
With just two months to go before its full implementation, my fears appear justified and our government doesn’t seem to care.
Hobby Lobby, which has more than 500 arts and crafts stores in 41 states, filed a lawsuit against the government over the HHS mandate in September.
The business is self-insured and with the start of their next health insurance plan beginning on January 1, their failure to comply means they could end up paying crippling fines that could reach up to $1.3 million per day.
“By being required to make a choice between sacrificing our faith or paying millions of dollars in fines, we essentially must choose which poison pill to swallow,” said David Green, Hobby Lobby CEO in an interview with the Associated Press. “We simply cannot abandon our religious beliefs to comply with this mandate.”
What’s even more amazing to me is how President Obama’s administration stood by their mandate in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma.
Their position was they labeled Hobby Lobby as a “secular” business even though its affiliate “Mardel” sells Bibles and other Christian products. This label doesn’t really matter as the mandate is for both nonprofit and profitable businesses.
So on one hand, Hobby Lobby’s owners are being discriminated for their religious beliefs with this federal mandate. On the other hand, Hobby Lobby’s employees are protected from religious discrimination by another federal law.
This whole thing is messed up and is the reason this mandate should have never happened in the first place. It’s clearly violating the 1st Amendment and it doesn’t appear the U.S. government really cares.
Even in Secretary Sebelius’ original statement, she had the nerve to give nonprofit businesses a year to in essence change their beliefs or face the consequences. This isn’t the last we’ve heard of this issue as religious schools offering their own insurance have choices to make and so do so many other types of Christian-owned businesses out there.
Something needs to be done about this.
If this freedom is taken away, what’s next?Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment.