In a religious freedom/liberty conflict among religious
employers, employees, and students, who wins?
More misinformation & disinformation from news
sources. Congressional politicians enter fray.
Misinformation and disinformation about the HHS birth control medication mandate (Cont'd):
- Speak Up - Church:
- The HHS mandates requires "health care plans to pay for abortion inducing drugs, ..." 1 or
- "Many church ministries and para-church organizations will be required to provide things like abortion-inducing drugs to their employees – even if it conflicts with the religious beliefs and teachings of the ministry." 1
- The Baptist Press:
- "The contraceptives covered under the guidelines include drugs that can cause abortions." 10
- Cybercast News Service (CNS):
- "... all FDA-approved contraceptives include emergency contraceptives such as Plan B and Ella (Ulipristal), which do in fact cause the death of human embryos." 2
- The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB):
- "The drugs that Americans would be forced to subsidize under the new rule include Ella, which was approved by the FDA as an 'emergency contraceptive' but can act like the abortion drug RU-486. It can abort an established pregnancy weeks after conception. The pro-life majority of Americans – Catholics and others – would be outraged to learn that their premiums must be used for this purpose." 3
- Life News "... is an independent news agency devoted to reporting news that affects the pro-life community." 6 They discussed a number of reactions by social and religious conservatives, commenting on a submission to HHS by the Susan B. Anthony List and Charlotte Lozier Institute. Life News wrote:
- "In the comment, the pro-life groups request that HHS either rescind or amend the portion of the mandate that requires insurance coverage for contraception so that the mandate no longer compels the inclusion of abortifacient drugs and measures. If that portion must remain, the pro-life groups insist that the Administration broaden the current accommodation of conscience rights to include all entities and individuals with ethical and moral, and not just religious, objections."
" 'Forcing pro-life organizations to be directly responsible for providing insurance programs which cover abortion-inducing drugs is an assault on conscience regardless of religion,' said Dannenfelser. 'Coverage for abortion-inducing drugs such as ella [sic] is not preventative women’s healthcare. This intrusion on rights of conscience by the Obama Administration claiming concern for ‘women’s rights or human rights’ puts dangerous ideology over [religious] liberty'."
" 'Not only does the Administration’s so called ‘accommodation’ for religious entities not go far enough to protect religious liberty, it does not address the conscience protections needed by non-religious groups actively working to uphold the right to life,' added Donovan. 'In order to maintain the moral coherence of our missions, we refuse to purchase insurance or otherwise participate in any insurance plan that includes coverage for interventions or procedures that destroy or otherwise imperil innocent human beings. The idea that we, or our insurers, are not really paying for these procedures because of the ‘cost-savings’ of abortifacients is repugnant in the first place'." 4
- The editors of the National Review wrote:
- "This day — [2012-]August 1 — is a dark one for religious freedom in the United States. The Obama administration’s requirement that all insurance plans cover contraceptives and abortion-inducing drugs — the HHS mandate — goes into effect today. This requirement is now binding on countless employers who have religious and moral objections to providing such insurance. 5
- WND, a conservative news source that covers stories from a conservative Christian viewpoint, commented on the lawsuit between the federal government and Weingartz Supply company over the HHS mandate. WND said:
- "The administration’s statements came in a court filing that asserts the federal government has the authority to order private companies to provide abortifacients for their employees."
Again, they are referring to emergency contraception. 11
- On the day before the HHS Mandate was implemented, Life News quoted:
- The Catholic Association as stating: "Last week, a federal court dealt a major blow to the Department of Health and Human Services’ mandate requiring employers to provide contraception, sterilization, and abortion-causing drugs in their healthcare plans. In the first-ever legal victory against the mandate, the court granted a temporary injunction to the family-owned Hercules Industries in Colorado. The Obama administration argued that employers have no conscience rights if they engage in a for-profit business, and therefore the business owners — the Newland family – ought to be subject to millions of dollars in fines per year for non-compliance."
- Matt Smith, president of Catholic Advocate as saying: "August 1st will be remembered as the day our most cherished liberty was thrown in a government dumpster and hauled away. A day when family owned small businesses were forced to abandon their religious beliefs to provide products and services for free. And if they don’t, they will be taxed and fined at a time when job creators are struggling with enough costs and bureaucratic red-tape at every level of government just to stay in business. While the courts have provided a reprieve for one family business in Colorado, the government will never be able to repair the broken conscience of thousands of others until this mandate is removed."
- Christen Varley, executive director of Conscience Cause,as saying: "The implementation of this policy tomorrow marks the beginning of the end of religious freedom in our nation. Starting tomorrow, employers with religious and moral objections must make an unimaginable choice: comply and deny your faith, or resist and be subject to crippling fines. Religious institutions have been given an absurd one year reprieve in which to decide the same.
People of faith and those who believe in protecting our constitutional freedoms will continue the fight to repeal and bar any regulation that would compel individuals and institutions, including religious hospitals, schools and charities, to violate the tenets of their faith or be subject to penalty of law. Conscience Cause will continue our efforts to inform the public as well as to petition Congress to overrule this devastating policy. If we do not stand up and make our voices heard, it is only a matter of time before our other liberties come under direct assault." 7
We obtained the above stories by searching the Web for "HHS mandate" abortion. All of the information sources that incorrectly described emergency contraception as abortifacient medication came from religious and social conservative news outlets. We noted that:
- None of the articles that we found mentioned the conflict between the religious freedom of the employer to restrict medical coverage to their employees, and the religious freedom of the employee to obtain preventative services free of copays that is consistent with the employees' moral and religious beliefs.
- All of the articles seem to have assumed that emergency contraception (EC) works by inhibiting the pre-embryo from implanting in the wall of the uterus; most seem to imply that this is the only mechanism by which EC works.
- None of the articles mentioned that researchers have found that EC does not inhibit implantation, but rather works by inhibiting ovulation or reducing the chances of conception.
Unfortunately, a lot of readers of these articles will assume that because they come from religious sources, they are well researched, accurate, and authoritative.
2012-AUG-01: Congressional politicians enter fray:
Requiring health insurance companies to give female employees the option of receiving free preventative care in their health insurance plans at no cost to their employers caused two Republican lawmakers to describe the mandate as an massive attack on America.
Rep Mike Kelly (R-PA) is a well known opponent of abortion access. He used the language of President F.D. Roosevelt's "Day of Infamy" speech to describe the HHS mandate. Kelly said that 2012-AUG-01, the date when the regulation became effective, will "live in infamy" along with two other dates: 1941-DEC-07 when the Empire of Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, and 2001-SEP-11 when the 9/11 terrorists attacked the World Trade Center. He said:
"I know in your mind you can think of times when America was attacked. One is December 7th, that's Pearl Harbor day. The other is September 11th, and that's the day of the terrorist attack. I want you to remember August the 1st, 2012, the attack on our religious freedom. That is a day that will live in infamy, along with those other dates."
At the same press conference, New York Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle (R-NY) said:
"This is a right that every American should be outraged, outraged about what this administration and Secretary Sibelius has set forth here on August the 1st. And as Mike said, August the 1st is a day that we as American will look at as the largest assault on our First Amendment rights. 8
Commenting on Kelly's speech, commentator Sarah Morice-Brubaker said:
"Maybe he thinks that the only people who have ever experienced a truly grievous affront to their agency and well-being are these three groups: 1) victims of the Pearl Harbor attack; 2) victims of the 9/11 attacks; and 3) the boss who thinks Unitarian Stella from accounting shouldn’t be using birth control and by gum he’s not going to pay for a policy that lets her do so without copay. Maybe the evidence that contraception improves women’s health does not enter into his analysis at all." 9
Webmaster's comment: I just don't get Kelly's remarks. He is a fierce anti-abortion advocate. According to the Guttmacher Institute, some 48% of unexpected pregnancies are terminated by abortion. Making contraceptives freely available will reduce the number of unexpected pregnancies. Either I am missing something here, or Kelly is attempting to defeat his own goals.
How you may have arrived here:
The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above
essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.
- "Will our church be subject to a conscience tax?, Speak Up - Church, 2012-JUN-08, at: http://blog.speakupmovement.org/
- Mat Cover, "Sebelius Claims 'No Abortifacient Drug' Covered by Contraception Mandate," CNS News, 2012-MAR-01, at: http://cnsnews.com/
- "USCCB: HHS Mandate for Contraceptive and Abortifacient Drugs Violates Conscience Rights," United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, 2011-AUG-01, at: http://www.usccb.org/
- Steven Ertelt, "Obama Admin Told to Rescind Pro-Abortion HHS Mandate," Life News, 2012-JUN-18, at: http://www.lifenews.com/
- The Editors, "The HHS Mandate goes into effect," National Review Online, 1012-AUG-01, at: http://www.nationalreview.com/
- "About us," LifeNews.com, 2011, at: http://www.lifenews.com/
- Steven Ertelt, "Obamacare’s Pro-Abortion HHS Mandate Takes Effect Tomorrow," Life News, 2012-JUL-31, at: http://www.lifenews.com/
- Michael O'Brien & Frank Thorp, "Republican likens contraceptive mandate to Pearl Harbor, 9/11," ABC News, 2012-AUG-01, at: http://firstread.nbcnews.com/
- Sarah Morice-Brubaker, "Pennsylvania Rep. Says Contraception Mandate Is Like Pearl Harbor and 9/11," Religion Dispatches, 2012-AUG-01, at: http://www.religiondispatches.org/
- Tom Strode, "Letter to Obama: It's not just Catholics who oppose HSS over 'contraception mandate'," Baptist Press, 2012-JAN-06, at: http://www.bpnews.net/
- Bob Unruh, "Obama minions: Gov't 'Can override your religion'," WND Faith, 2012-SEP-06, at: http://www.wnd.com/
Copyright © 2012 by Ontario Consultants on Religious
Originally written: 2012-JUL-08
Latest update: 2012-AUG-18
Author: B.A. Robinson