Thursday, March 27, 2014

CMA religious freedom commentary on Fox News

(Excerpted from "Families fighting Obamacare's assertion of 'pill-level power,'" published by Fox News, March 25, 2014)

Jonathan ImbodyBy Jonathan Imbody, CMA VP for Govt. Relations

The mandate under Obamacare that prescribes the provision of 20 specific contraceptives exposes the audacity of pill-level government decision-making. While many Americans, including those with religious convictions, approve of and use certain contraceptives, the government-mandated, no-exceptions list includes four especially controversial items (Plan B, ella and two intrauterine devices--IUDs) that the FDA notes can end the life of a developing human being.

Why would the government intervene to force the provision of free contraceptives for every woman from the Hamptons to Beverly Hills? Everyone who has easily bought and used contraceptives at the neighborhood drug store can readily see that the administration has no compelling interest to do so beyond raw politics and ideology.

President Obama unwittingly confirmed the lack of a compelling need for government intervention when he asserted in a White House address, "Nearly 99 percent of all women have relied on contraception at some point in their lives--99 percent." Why would the federal government intervene to mandate the provision of what even the President admits is a ubiquitous product? The existing ready access to contraceptives, combined with literally millions of exemptions handed out by the administration to virtually everyone but religious objectors, effectively rules out any government claim to a compelling reason for the mandate.

The Supreme Court in a few days will examine whether the administration violated federal law that requires a "compelling" government justification for trampling Americans' conscience freedoms. The Court will hear two cases of family-owned businesses whose only crime appears to be not sharing the administration's ideology. Two families that own and operate companies--the Conestoga Wood Specialties and the Hobby Lobby--maintain a science- and faith-based objection to providing just the four of the mandated contraceptives that can end a human life.

As a result, these two family-owned businesses face government fines totaling millions of dollars as the cost of exercising what they thought were every American's unalienable First Amendment freedoms. They could also, of course, simply drop their employees' healthcare insurance altogether. But that option likewise incurs draconian Obamacare fines, and the families want to continue providing excellent health coverage to employees as they were able to before Obamacare.

These families now fight in court for the freedoms that other Americans have fought for on the battlefield.

Read rest of commentary.


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