Legislation to repeal Obamacare under consideration in the House today makes clear in two significant findings the massive health care law’s threat to religious liberty, conscience rights, and the protection of human life:
(7) While President Obama promised that nothing in the law would fund elective abortion, the law expands the role of the Federal Government in funding and facilitating abortion and plans that cover abortion. The law appropriates billions of dollars in new funding without explicitly prohibiting the use of these funds for abortion, and it provides Federal subsidies for health plans covering elective abortions. Moreover, the law effectively forces millions of individuals to personally pay a separate abortion premium in violation of their sincerely held religious, ethical, or moral beliefs.
(8) Until enactment of the law, the Federal Government has not sought to impose specific coverage or care requirements that infringe on the rights of conscience of insurers, purchasers of insurance, plan sponsors, beneficiaries, and other stakeholders, such as individual or institutional health care providers. The law creates a new nationwide requirement for health plans to cover “essential health benefits” and “preventive services”, but does not allow stakeholders to opt out of covering items or services to which they have a religious or moral objection, in violation of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (Public Law 103–141). By creating new barriers to health insurance and causing the loss of existing insurance arrangements, these inflexible mandates jeopardize the ability of institutions and individuals to exercise their rights of conscience and their ability to freely participate in the health insurance and health care marketplace.
As a result, Obamacare’s multiple threats to religious liberty, rights of conscience, and the protection of human life remain.
Of particular concern is the contraception mandate, which goes into effect on August 1 and is the subject of some 23 lawsuits around the country. It compels religious and other employers to cover—at no charge to the insured—abortion-inducing drugs, contraceptives, and sterilization, regardless of an employer’s moral or religious objection.
The mandate, which tramples on the free exercise of religion and conscience rights of employers and individuals, is just the first chilling example of how Americans’ individual liberties will be adversely affected as the statute is implemented.
It raises significant questions about what more Obamacare will require on other matters of deeply personal religious and moral significance, such as prenatal care, end-of-life issues, and parental authority for minors’ health decisions.
To protect religious liberty specifically and individual freedom generally, Obamacare must be repealed. Centralized health care policy that defines what individuals must buy, what employers must cover, and what insurers must offer puts the moral compass in the hands of bureaucrats and will continue to trample on conscience as implementation continues.