The federal website Regulations.gov released the first round of public comments on the administration’s proposed anti-conscience mandate on Wednesday. The comments were overwhelmingly opposed to the measure: out of 211 comments submitted, only six, less than 3%, offered support for the mandate.
The mandate would require all organizations that offer health insurance to facilitate coverage of contraceptives and abortion-inducing drugs, even if such drugs violate those organizations’ religious or moral beliefs.
The vast majority of the comments submitted focus on the mandate’s violation of Americans’ right of conscience, while a few discuss the health hazards of the medical procedures the mandate covers, and some call for full Obamacare repeal.
“As a Democrat, I will vote Republican if religious freedom is not protected and respected,” said one commenter, who identified herself as Arlene from Colorado.
An anonymous commenter from Missouri insisted that the mandate constitutes “a religious freedoms issue, not a women’s issue.”
The Heritage Foundation produced a video on the anti-conscience mandate in February, which showed that government intrusions in the health care sector such as Obamacare inevitably trample on Americans’ rights. Religions liberty is simply “the first casualty,” explained Heritage’s Jennifer Marshall.
Of course the fundamental problem with the anti-conscience mandate is not just that it’s unpopular, but that it violates the law. The First Amendment protects Americans’ religious and moral freedoms, a fact that the Department of Health and Human Services does not appear to have taken into account in formulating the rule.
In fact, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius recently claimed ignorance of the “nuances of the constitutional balancing tests” that determine whether legislation is compliant with America’s most fundamental legal document.