President Trump is restoring “freedom of conscience” to America with a proposed rule that would lift the burdensome, and unconstitutional – according to critics – demands from ex-President Obama that employers pay for abortion-causing chemicals for employees, public-interest groups are saying.
“This interim rule, if issued as written, is an important step in acknowledging the importance of conscience rights for all Americans,” officials with the Susan B. Anthony List organization said in a statement.
“The taking of human life is the antithesis of health care. No one, including religious orders like the Little Sisters of the Poor, or groups like Susan B. Anthony List should be forced to be complicit in the provision of abortion inducing drugs and devices.
“The pending interim rule is a welcome sign that the Trump administration is continuing their work to protect the conscience rights of all Americans. We thank President Trump for taking the necessary steps to follow through on one of his core promises to voters of faith and conscience.”
The interim Health and Human Services rule amends Obama’s mandate for employers to facilitate and fund abortion by allowing employers and others to opt out of contraceptive coverage due to a moral or religious objections. It still has a review and adoption process to go through.
Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion-industry player now under fire for its baby body-parts trade, immediately objected, claiming the rule regarding payment for contraception would endanger “a woman’s ability to make the most basic and personal of decisions – when and if to have a child.”
The statement from Dana Singiser complained that, “This rule would mean women across the country could be denied insurance coverage for birth control on a whim from their employer or university.”
It also would mean that women may have to pay for their birth control themselves.
In the proposed rule, which was leaked on Wednesday, the Trump administration said expanding exemptions for religious and moral objections means more employers would end up be able to participate in the health-care market.
The far left American Civil Liberties Union said it would sue the Trump administration if it does not continue forcing employers to violate their faith and fund contraceptives for workers.
The issue was the focal point of the famous case brought against Obama by the Little Sisters of the Poor charity whose members run homes for the elderly around the world.
They sued Obama over his imposition of the requirement they violate their faith, and they won at the Supreme Court level. Obama’s administration then created a rule to accommodate the situation, and Trump’s change expands on that.
“Americans should always have the freedom to peacefully operate according to their beliefs without fear of severe penalties by the government,” said Gregory S. Baylor, senior counsel for the Alliance Defending Freedom.
“The proposed HHS regulation regarding the Obamacare abortion-pill mandate would, if made final, protect conscientiously objecting employers from having to choose between paying crippling fines or providing morally objectionable abortion-inducing drugs, sterilization, or contraception. The government has put forward a common-sense solution that ensures that Americans won’t be forced to violate their deepest convictions while maintaining multiple ways for people to obtain the drugs in question if they want them. We commend President Trump and his administration for taking quick action to demonstrate their resolve to make religious liberty a first priority.”
Officials at First Liberty Institute, which has represented multiple religious ministries over the years seeking relief from Obama’s demands, said, “The Trump administration has clearly announced its intent to adopt an important new policy for religious ministries across the country: the government will no longer force a religious ministry to violate their faith or face a government penalty.”
Spokesman Jeremy Dys said, “Our clients are delighted to see their religious liberty potentially restored … .”
From Tony Perkins, of Family Research Council, was: “While this apparent leaked document is a draft, it is a very positive sign to see the federal government work to cease its hostility toward Christians and those who object to the Obama era health care mandates. This draft regulation shows that Secretary Tom Price and President Trump intend to make good on their pledge to vigorously protect and promote American’s First Freedom.”
He continued, “As many Americans of faith have experienced, the extent of the Obama administration’s hostility toward their beliefs was astounding. From President Obama’s dismissal of people of faith as Americans ‘clinging’ to their religion, to threatening millions in crushing fines against charities like the Little Sisters of the Poor, the Obama administration made clear they believed people of faith had no place in the public square and that religious beliefs or moral convictions were irrelevant to the health care they provide.
“Respecting the freedom of Americans to follow their deeply held beliefs is a long-held American tradition and grounded firmly in the Constitution. The draft regulation would continue the process of righting this wrong and restoring Americans’ full First Amendment rights. The freedom to live out faith in all areas of society without government punishment or intimidation is fundamental to making America great again,” said Perkins.
“Better late than never,” added Mark Rienzi, with the Becket Fund.
That was the organization that fought on behalf of the Little Sisters.
“At long last the United States government acknowledges that people can get contraceptives without forcing nuns to provide them. That is sensible, fair, and in keeping with the Supreme Court’s order and the president’s promise to the Little Sisters and other religious groups serving the poor,” Rienzi said.
The legal team at Becket pointed out that Obama’s mandate already included “enormous exemptions,” but they were not for religious groups.
“One hundred million Americans – nearly one in three – don’t have insurance plans that must comply with this mandate,” the organization reported. “The government was already exempting large corporations like Exxon and Visa, and even its own government-run plans for the disabled and military families. It’s time to bring some common sense to this regulation and protect religious groups serving those in need.”
The lawyers reported the contraceptive mandate issue has been to the Supreme Court five times, and each time the Supreme Court has ruled in favor of broader protections for religious groups.