While the Obama administration finds its own signature health care legislation so complicated to administer that it is now putting off implementation of the large-employer insurance mandate until 2015 (i.e., after the congressional midterm elections), it is forging ahead with its oppressive HHS contraception-sterilization-abortifacient mandate, despite repeated condemnations of it from countless religious leaders for nearly two years now.
Last Friday, HHS published its “final rule” formalizing the so-called “accommodation” of religiously affiliated employers who object to facilitating and paying for contraception, sterilization, and abortion-inducing drugs in their employee health plans. Read it if you want to punish yourself, but the long and the short of it is that nothing has changed since this came out in a draft form in February. Notwithstanding the claims of the Obama administration, employers will still be facilitating the coverage to which they object, in the contracts they make with insurance companies, and in most cases will actually still be paying in full for the coverage. Administrations assurances to the contrary are falsehoods.
I explained all this in February at Public Discourse, and then again here at First Thoughts (and here and here), in response to a supporter of the Obama rule (or at least a critic of my criticism). Nothing has changed since then, as Yuval Levin, Sarah Torre, and James Capretta can explain as well.
Yesterday Dr. Russell Moore, the new president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, stood with Archbishop William Lori of Baltimore, chairman of the Ad Hoc Committee on Religious Liberty of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, at the National Press Club. They were speaking for a large group of leaders of many different faith groups who have signed a letter denouncing the HHS mandate as an attack on religious freedom.
The assault is real; it is serious; it is recognized as such by millions of Americans in scores of different faith communities. The Obama administration persists in claiming that it has “accommodated” the concerns of the various people who say it has done no such thing.
Whom do you believe?