The fines begin for Obamacare abortifacient mandate

The $100 per day, per employee, fines have gone into effect for employers that refuse to provide insurance that includes free contraception and abortion-causing drugs.

Churches are exempt, and non-profit religious organizations were granted a one-year reprieve, but companies owned by pro-life individuals must either comply or start paying the fines.

Meanwhile, court cases have ruled all over the map on this issue.  For where things stand now, see   Courts Issue Contradictory Rulings as Contracepti… | Christianity Today.

Good news/bad news on abortifacient mandate

An appeals courts has given a victory to Christian colleges suing over Obamacare’s requirement that they provide free contraceptives and morning-after pills.  But another appeals court has upheld the requirement for Christian-owned businesses.

A federal appeals court on Tuesday sided with Wheaton College and Belmont Abbey College in a decision related to the ongoing court challenges to the Obama administration’s birth control mandate. The court said it would hold the Obama administration to its promise to never implement the current birth control mandate and to create a new rule by August, as part of the court decision.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ordered Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to give it updates every 60 days, beginning in February, until a new rule is issued in August. The lawsuits will be held in abeyance until that time.

“There will, the government said, be a different rule for entities like the appellants,” the court wrote, “and we take that as a binding commitment. The government further represented that it would publish a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for the new rule in the first quarter of 2013 and would issue a new Final Rule before August 2013. We take the government at its word and will hold it to it.”

Sebelius first issued the rule in January. As part of the Affordable Care Act, or “Obamacare,” she ruled that employers must cover contraception, sterilization and some abortifacient drugs in their health care insurance for employees. There is a religious exemption, but the exemption is so narrow that most religious employers, including religious schools, are not exempt. There have been about 40 lawsuits related to the mandate.

via Christian Colleges Score Win: Court Orders Rewrite of Birth Control Mandate.

No such good news for Hobby Lobby, whose owners are devout pro-life Christians:

A federal appeals court on Thursday refused to shield Hobby Lobby Stores from the Obama administration’s contraception mandate — and the fines that come with it for not complying — in a blow to the largest employer to challenge the ObamaCare rule.

In response, the Christian-owned company vowed to appeal the case to the Supreme Court.

CEO David Green, who had taken his case to the appeals court after losing in a lower-court ruling, had argued that his family would have to either “violate their faith by covering abortion-causing drugs or be exposed to severe penalties.”

The mandate requires businesses and organizations, with some exceptions, to provide access to contraception coverage — Hobby Lobby was most concerned about coverage for the morning-after pill, which some consider tantamount to an abortion-causing drug. Hobby Lobby has refused to comply, while saying the fines could add up to $1.3 million a day. . . .

There are currently more than 40 cases pending against that rule, though the Supreme Court has not yet stepped into the fray.

In its ruling, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals said the company did not prove the rule would “substantially burden” its religious freedom. Though the mandate has exemptions for religious entities like churches, the lower court ruled that Hobby Lobby is not a religious group.

Planned Parenthood as political organization

The most effective political organization in America, judged by the recent elections, is Planned Parenthood.  As reported by Sarah Kliff:

Planned Parenthood Action Fund earned an honor this campaign cycle that had nothing to do with women’s health: It was the most effective political group in the 2012 election.

Over 98 percent of its spending was in races that ended with the desired result, according to an analysis by the Sunlight Foundation.

Planned Parenthood pulled this off, pollsters and strategists say, with a two-pronged strategy. First, it turned Mitt Romney’s words against him. Then the group used algorithms to identify a group of 1 million female voters, largely in swing states, who were particularly receptive to the group’s message. . . .

Planned Parenthood started with focus groups in the spring, trying to figure out how much voters knew about Romney’s positions on women’s health issues. The answer seemed to be: not a lot. . . .

After that, O’Rourke and her team began testing out what messages worked best to define Romney. They would put up online ads that had personal messages or ones that leveraged Planned Parenthood as an authority on women’s health. . . .

Figuring out the best message was only half the puzzle; Planned Parenthood had to figure out who would be most receptive to their ideas. For that, they turned to micro-targeting, identifying 1 million female voters who were likely to support legal abortion and the health law’s contraceptive mandate.

The group spent about $15 million this year, more than tripling the $4 million it spent in 2008. It wanted to make sure those dollars were targeting the voters who would be open to their message.

“Those were the women that we were going to relentlessly target over and over and over again between June and November,” says Planned Parenthood Executive Vice President Dawn Laguens.

If you were among the women in that group who lived in Virginia, you received five pieces of direct mail and dozens of phone calls. You would get visits from canvassers, who might hand you a folded-up brochure, styled to look like a pocketbook, that told you Mitt Romney could cost you $407,000 over your lifetime by not supporting no co-pay birth control or equal pay legislation.

via Inside Planned Parenthood’s campaign strategy.

My first reaction is to wonder if conservatives and pro-lifers could ever get that sophisticated.  My second reaction is to think that no one should be so manipulative and mendacious.   “Romney will cost you $407,000.”  I’m sure many of these scientifically-targeted and brow-beaten women thought, “But I don’t have $407,000″ and voted accordingly.

Massachusetts is voting down assisted suicide

As we discussed, Colorado and Washington have legalized marijuana.  Also  Maryland and Maine have legalized gay marriage, the first time that step has been taken by popular referendum.  But Massachusetts, to its credit, is voting down a measure that would legalize physician-assisted suicide.

In Massachusetts, ballots are still being tallied, but it appears voters have rejected a move to legalize physician-assisted suicide for the terminally ill.

“My late husband Sen. Edward Kennedy called quality, affordable health care for all the cause of his life,” Victoria Kennedy, the widow of the late Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., wrote in a Cape Code op-ed.

“Question 2 turns his vision of health care for all on its head by asking us to endorse patient suicide — not patient care — as our public policy for dealing with pain and the financial burdens of care at the end of life,” she said.

With about 93 percent of the votes counted, the measure is failing by 51 to 49.

via Pot Initiative Passes, Assisted Suicide Failing – Politics – CBN News – Christian News 24-7 –

I appreciate how we have here in Mrs. Kennedy’s remarks a pro-life argument cast in liberal terms.

I have never understood what is so liberal about believing in abortion and euthanasia.   As we saw with the Democratic national convention, liberals will go on and on about protecting the weak, the vulnerable, and the marginalized, only to throw out all of that rhetoric when it comes to protecting the weakest, the most vulnerable, and the most marginalized of all, namely, unwanted children.

Questions for pro-choice candidates

From Trevin Wax:

Debate moderators and reporters love to ask pro-life candidates hard questions about abortion. Curiously, they don’t do the same for pro-choice candidates.

Here are 10 questions you never hear a pro-choice candidate asked by the media:

1. You say you support a woman’s right to make her own reproductive choices in regards to abortion and contraception. Are there any restrictions you would approve of?

2. In 2010, The Economist featured a cover story on “the war on girls” and the growth of “gendercide” in the world – abortion based solely on the sex of the baby. Does this phenomenon pose a problem for you or do you believe in the absolute right of a woman to terminate a pregnancy because the unborn fetus is female?

3. In many states, a teenager can have an abortion without her parents’ consent or knowledge but cannot get an aspirin from the school nurse without parental authorization. Do you support any restrictions or parental notification regarding abortion access for minors?

4. If you do not believe that human life begins at conception, when do you believe it begins? At what stage of development should an unborn child have human rights?

5. Currently, when genetic testing reveals an unborn child has Down Syndrome, most women choose to abort. How do you answer the charge that this phenomenon resembles the “eugenics” movement a century ago – the slow, but deliberate “weeding out” of those our society would deem “unfit” to live?

6. Do you believe an employer should be forced to violate his or her religious conscience by providing access to abortifacient drugs and contraception to employees?

7. Alveda King, niece of Martin Luther King, Jr. has said that “abortion is the white supremacist’s best friend,” pointing to the fact that Black and Latinos represent 25% of our population but account for 59% of all abortions. How do you respond to the charge that the majority of abortion clinics are found in inner-city areas with large numbers of minorities?

8. You describe abortion as a “tragic choice.” If abortion is not morally objectionable, then why is it tragic? Does this mean there is something about abortion that is different than other standard surgical procedures?

9. Do you believe abortion should be legal once the unborn fetus is viable – able to survive outside the womb?

10. If a pregnant woman and her unborn child are murdered, do you believe the criminal should face two counts of murder and serve a harsher sentence?

via 10 Questions a Pro-Choice Candidate Is Never Asked by the Media – Trevin Wax.


HT:  Mollie Hemingway

Is Romney going soft on abortion?

Mitt Romney, as expected, seems to be tacking towards the center in an effort to woo Independents and to counter the “war against women” allegations.  This is what he told the Des Moines Register:

“There’s no legislation with regards to abortion that I’m familiar with that would become part of my agenda.”

via Romney: Abortion not on my agenda – CBS News.

Among his long history of different opinions on life issues, Romney’s stated position today is that he is pro-life with exceptions (for rape, incest, and the life of the mother).  Does this sound like he is saying, yes, I’m mostly pro-life, but if I’m elected, don’t worry, I’m not going to do anything about it?

How should pro-life voters take this?  A Romney administration, however unenthusiastic about the issue,  would surely be better for the  pro-life cause than Obama’s.  He says he’ll end the Obamacare abortifacient mandate, cut funding for Planned Parenthood, and stop tax money from going to international abortion providers.  He also says he will appoint conservative judges.  After all, given Roe vs. Wade, abortion law is in the hands of the courts rather than  legislators.

In addition to those pro-abortion measures implemented by the Obama administration, the Democrats in their convention came across as not just pro-choice but as positively pro-abortion.  Bill Clinton’s Democratic party wanted abortion to be “safe, legal, and rare.”  But at this convention, speaker after speaker displayed,  to thunderous applause, an untroubled, fanatical, and outright evil embrace of abortion.

But still. . . .Though Romney is now trying to placate pro-lifers, they should be excused for being cynical, for thinking Republicans once again are trying to use them for their votes and activism, while giving them as little as possible.

Is this too harsh an assessment?  If you are pro-life, do Romney’s words make you reconsider supporting him?  Do pro-lifers have any other options?