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Missouri Family E-News

February 28, 2012


States File Lawsuit Against New Contraceptive Drug Edict

 

 

Seven states have gone to court to challenge the constitutionality of the Obama Administration's new abortion drug mandate.  The lawsuit has been filed by the attorneys general of Texas, Florida, Michigan, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, and South Carolina. 

 

"The very First Amendment to our Constitution was intended to protect against this sort of intrusion into our religious convictions," says Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott on behalf of the plaintiffs.

 

The joint legal challenge by the states joins other lawsuits filed by Catholic and evangelical colleges, Priests for Life, and the EWTN Catholic television network.

 

In the meantime, pro-life and pro-family leaders are roundly condemning the Obama Administration's so-called "compromise" on the contraceptive mandate.  Under the "compromise," religious organizations would still have to include contraceptives and abortion drugs in their health care coverage, but the insurance companies would allegedly pay for it.

 

The insurance industry has already estimated that the price tag nationally for the contraceptive mandate will be approximately $2.8 billion a year.  Obviously that cost will be passed on to group and individual policyholders.  How it is paid for really isn't the issue.  The fact is that abortion drugs will still be included in everyone's basic coverage as a "preventative service," including the employees of religious institutions.

 

Pro-life Congressman Chris Smith of New Jersey blasted the revised policy.  "The President's compromise plan is riddled with doublespeak and contradiction.  It's the discredited old policy dressed up to look like something else.  Only the most naive or gullible would accept this as a change in policy."

 

Marjorie Dannensfelder, President of the Susan B. Anthony List, also derided the new directive.  "'Who decides?' used to be the slogan of the abortion movement.  With this 'compromise,' President Obama again asserts that it is the government who decides:  government who decides what a properly formed conscience looks like, government who decides how to run a business, and government who determines how a religious nonprofit may act in the public square.  Now President Obama may be forcing many faith-based institutions out of the public square altogether."

 

R. Albert Mohler, President of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, says that the new preventative care policy is a political gimmick.  "Anyone who celebrates this 'compromise' as a victory is hiding behind an accounting trick.  That trick cannot hide the great moral tragedy at the heart of the President's directive--a policy that leaves religious liberty in peril and Planned Parenthood smiling."

 

In fact, the National Abortion Rights Action League is so happy with President Obama's "concession" to religious organizations that they are running a quarter-million dollar radio advertising campaign promoting it.

  

  


Christian Leaders Join Ranks in Opposing Abortion Drug Mandate

 

 

Christian religious leaders from Protestant denominations have joined the hierarchy of the Catholic Church in issuing a stern denunciation of the new federal abortion drug mandate.

 

The Rev. Matthew Harrison, President of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, says the contraceptive edict "violates Biblical teaching on the sanctity of human life.  We object to the use of drugs and procedures that take the lives of unborn children, who are persons in the sight of God from the time of conception."

 

Harrison deplored the threat to religious freedom posed by the abortion drug mandate.  "Increasingly we are seeing overzealous intrusions into what is the realm of traditional and Biblical Christian conscience.  We believe this is a violation of our First Amendment rights."

 

John Yeats, Executive Director of the Missouri Baptist Convention, says the health insurance directive "seeks to secularize institutions of faith which have been built for purposes of faith."

 

"Shall the stroke of a pen by a bureaucrat devalue the blood that men and women shed on the battlefields of Europe and Asia to guarantee our religious liberties?  I pray it isn't so."

 

David Krueger, chairman of the Christian Life Commission of the Missouri Baptist Convention, went even further:  "This is one of the vilest decisions any American administration has ever perpetrated against American churches.  It is one more example that the Obama Administration has declared war on Christianity."

 

Every Catholic bishop in the United States has now come out against President Obama's contraceptive mandate.  Most have defiantly declared that they will not comply with what they have called "an unjust law."   

 

The Obama Administration is clearly unsettled by the refusal of the Catholic Church to buckle to its demands.  The Office of the Chief of Chaplains in the U.S. Army recently instructed Catholic chaplains that they could not read a bishop's letter from the pulpit concerning the issue.    

 

Archbishop Timothy Broglio, the head of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese for the Military Services, had expressed concerns about religious freedom in a message addressed to Catholic members of the Armed Forces.   

 

"The federal government, which claims to be 'of, by, and for the people,' has just dealt a heavy blow to the Catholic population," he shared in the letter.  "This is a blow to the freedoms that you have fought to defend and for which you have seen your buddies fall in battle."

 

It is a dreadful day in our nation when our government acts to control the message, teaching, and very language that a religious leader can share with his own congregation.   How close to tyranny are we when a religious leader must filter a message about doctrinal beliefs through government censors?  I would submit we are already there.  

 

State Legislators Take Stand Against Federal Abortion Rx Mandate

 

 

Leading Missouri legislators are taking a firm stand in objecting to the Obama Administration's recent abortion drug mandate.  Bills have been filed in the Missouri House and Senate that oppose the federal edict, which requires that virtually all health insurance plans include contraceptive coverage without co-insurance or deductibles.  All contraceptives approved by the Food and Drug Administration must be incorporated in health insurance policies by August of this year, including the abortifacient drugs Ella and Plan B.

 

Senator John Lamping of Clayton and Representative Stanley Cox of Sedalia have filed identical bills in their respective chambers.  Those proposals state that no employer or health plan sponsor can be compelled to provide coverage for abortion, contraception, or sterilization in their health plans if those procedures or services "are contrary to [their] religious beliefs or moral convictions."

 

"I want to send a message to Washington that the people of Missouri will not stand for this intrusion on religious liberty,"  Lamping stated in support of his bill. 

 

The new federal mandate implemented by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius provides a narrow exemption for organized churches.  All other religious institutions such as hospitals, schools, charities, and affiliated ministries must comply with the abortion drug mandate by August of 2013.  The contraceptive edict will result in numerous Catholic entities being required to carry insurance coverage that violates their doctrinal teachings, or abandon health insurance coverage altogether.  Private Christian employers who choose to offer health insurance benefits to their employees will also be forced to underwrite abortion drug coverage.

 

The bills offered by Senator Lamping and Representative Cox also state that no employee can be forced to obtain coverage or be penalized for refusing coverage for abortion, contraception, or sterilization in an individual, family, or group health insurance plan.  The proposed law also stipulates that no governmental entity can discriminate against an employee, employer, or health care provider or health plan sponsor, because abortion, contraception, or sterilization violate their religious beliefs.

 

Senator Scott Rupp of Wentzville has also filed a proposed joint resolution which would place in Missouri's Constitution the same protective language contained in the Lamping/Cox legislation.  
 "This is just a full-frontal assault on religious liberty in our state,"  Rupp asserts.  "I believe in the separation of church and state, and the federal government has no business telling religious organizations what they should and shouldn't be doing."   

 

Senator Lamping's proposal has received initial debate in the Missouri Senate, where it has faced determined resistance from pro-abortion senators.  Senator Rupp's bill and Representative Cox's bill have yet to be heard in committee.  However, the House has acted on a resolution expressing  strong opposition to the abortion drug mandate.

 

House Concurrent Resolution 41, sponsored by Representative Paul Curtman of Pacific, was endorsed by the House on a vote of 114-45.  The resolution states that "religious liberty is a fundamental principle in our nation and state that must be protected."  The resolution also declares that mandates by the federal government forcing churches, religious organizations, and people of faith "to violate their consciences...is unacceptable in a free society."

 

None of these state proposals, if enacted, would repeal or negate the federal abortion drug mandate, which was authorized under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, President Obama's national health care law.  Under the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution, federal laws supersede state laws and even state constitutional provisions.  That means that a rabidly pro-abortion bureaucrat like Kathleen Sebelius can override the will of the people and their legislators in all 50 states.

 

While the Missouri proposals cannot block the federal abortion drug edict, they would establish clear policy protecting the religious liberties of Missouri churches and citizens should the federal mandate be withdrawn or rescinded under a new President.  Passage of the proposals would also send a clear message to members of Congress on this issue, much like the statewide Proposition C vote sent a resounding message about Missourians' feelings about Obamacare itself.

 

The only way to nullify or eliminate the abortion drug mandate is to adopt legislation advanced by Missouri U.S. Senator Roy Blunt known as the "Respect for Rights of Conscience Act.  Similar legislation has been introduced in the U.S. House sponsored by Nebraska Congressman Jeff Fortenberry.  Key votes are expected on these measures in the coming weeks.

 

Pro-abortion activists have falsely claimed that Blunt's bill would result in denial of contraceptive coverage for those who want it.  Blunt has fought back vigorously, stating that he is not concerned about the political fallout he may experience because of his forceful stand.  

 

"Religious institutions have traditionally reflected a worldview that is distinctive--It is part of why they exist," Blunt observes.  "It doesn't matter to me if this is a winning issue or not.  It's a matter of constitutional principle.  The Constitution, at its core, makes clear that our faith-based convictions are to be protected."  

 

For now, we encourage you to contact your state representative and state senator to voice support for the bills proposed by Senator Lamping and Representative Cox in the Missouri Legislature.   

 

You can contact your State Representative to urge support for Representative Cox's bill, House Bill 1730, by using this link:

Missouri House 

 

You can contact your state senator to urge support for Senator Lamping's bill, Senate Bill 749, by clicking this link:

Missouri Senate 

 

If you do not know who your state legislators are, you can go to the following webpage to obtain that information:

Legislator Lookup 

  

 

 

 

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