Here we go again. After losing in a landmark 9-0 ruling before the Supreme Court last week in the case of Hosanna Tabor Church and School v. the EEOC, the Obama Administration is moving boldly forward once again to crush religious liberty in America.
The issue this time is whether religious organizations will be forced to include contraception coverage in their health insurance plans. At 1:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Kathleen Sebelius, U.S. Secretary for Health and Human Services (HHS), announced that HHS would ignore the concerns of religious employers regarding HHS rules mandating health insurance coverage for sterilizations and contraception—including “morning-after pills” that cause abortion. Religious organizations, which had asked for a wider conscience exemption which would have allowed religious groups to “opt out” of funding contraceptives and sterilization procedures for their employees, were granted a one year extension, but must comply with the law.
Despite a strong public protest by Catholic and other faith groups, as well as by individual citizens, President Obama continues to insist that we must all have abortion coverage, and that we must all pay for it, for ourselves and for others.
According to Michael Sean Winters at the National Catholic Reporter, the President telephoned Archbishop Dolan this morning to give him the news, in advance of the formal statement by Sebelius. Winters writes:
“…one sentence in the statement from HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius stands out: “The administration remains fully committed to its partnerships with faith-based organizations, which promote healthy communities and serve the common good.”
What can those words “fully committed” possibly mean? They have punched Sr. Carol Keehan and Fr. Jenkins and many other Catholics who have taken shots for this Administration in the nose. They have jumped over the First Amendment to coerce religious organizations to do something we find morally objectionable. They have given people who loved the Affordable Care Act reason for pause, great pause. They have given the Republicans a huge battering ram with which to beat swing voting Catholics over the head.
The USCCB has rushed to issue a formal statement. Here is the video by Archbishop Timothy Dolan, head of the USCCB, expressing his shock and discouragement about the President’s policy.
This case is, I believe, sure to be overturned by the Supreme Court. It’s just unfortunate that the Obama Administration couldn’t have learned their lesson with the Hosanna Tabor case.
More to follow.