|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:
You can contact your state senator to urge support for Senator Lamping's bill, Senate Bill 749, by clicking this link:
If you do not know who your state legislators are, you can go to the following webpage to obtain that information: