Thursday, July 10, 2014

Response to the Hobby Lobby ruling

Excerpted from CMA doctors hail Supreme Court mandate ruling, decry ongoing targeting of faith community,” CMDA News Release. June 30, 2014 — The 15,000-member Christian Medical Association, the nation's largest and oldest faith-based doctors' organization, today praised the Supreme Court's ruling in two Health and Human Services (HHS) Obamacare mandate cases but noted "increasing attempts by the government to coerce the faith community." CMA had outlined the medical aspects underlying religious objections to the HHS Obamacare mandate in its friend of the court brief in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood v. Burwell.

CMA CEO Dr. David Stevens said in a statement, "We are very thankful that the Supreme Court acted to protect family businesses from government coercion and fines for simply honoring the tenets of their faith.

"This is a much-needed victory for faith freedoms, because this administration continues its assault on the values of the faith community. We are witnessing increasing attempts by the government to coerce the faith community to adopt the government's viewpoint in matters of conscience," noted Stevens.

CMA also filed a friend-of-the-court brief in another Supreme Court case this term, McCullen v. Coakley, to defend First Amendment free speech and assembly rights of pro-life advocates against a Massachusetts law that prohibited many citizens from entering a public street or sidewalk within 35 feet of an abortion facility.

"There seems to be growing intolerance of the faith community by some government officials who appear to want to extinguish the First Amendment freedoms that allow for a diversity of values," Stevens observed, "We are seeing this antagonism expressed in coercive government mandates enforced with harsh penalties and discriminatory practices that threaten to eliminate the faith community from the public square."


Dr. David StevensCMDA CEO David Stevens, MD, MA (Ethics): “I’m appalled that the ruling was five to four. One vote and we would have lost religious freedom, perhaps forever, in this country. It would have impacted us as healthcare professionals most of all, as Judge Alito noted in his majority opinion. He wrote, ‘Under HHS’s view, RFRA (the Religious Freedom Restoration Act) would permit the Government to require all employers to provide coverage for any medical procedure allowed by law in the jurisdiction in question—for instance, third-trimester abortions or assisted suicide.’

“We are already seeing the co-opting of the unwilling as a result of court rulings in the same-sex marriage issue. The courts are requiring participation by family-owned businesses in wedding ceremonies, despite their religious objections. The government is also forcing recognition of same-sex marriages as a condition for federal grants in this country and abroad.

CMDA’s amicus brief, representing you, affected the decision. It scientifically established the potentially deadly effect of two ‘morning after pills’ and two types of IUDs on nascent life before implantation. That fact was accepted in the majority opinion.

“We won the battle, but the war is not over. We must continue to fight relentlessly locally and nationally to protect healthcare right of conscience. The stakes are just too great to do otherwise.”


Learn more about CMDA’s efforts to protect the right of conscience
CMDA’s amicus curiae brief

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