You are invited to submit comments regarding the latest version of the HHS Mandate; but the deadline for feedback is next Monday, April 8, at midnight. Could you work fast and get your comments in?
In the first comment period, conservatives flooded the mailbox with logical comments about the Constitution and the right of conscience. It’s time to do it again!
In February, the White House supposedly modified the HHS Mandate—expanding the exemption to include church-affiliated non-profit organizations. However, the changes did not apply to individuals or for-profit business owners (such as the owners of Hobby Lobby). These employers are still required to provide, in their insurance programs, coverage for contraception, sterilization and early abortifacients, without a co-pay, to female employees and the daughters of employees.
Helen Alvare, writing on behalf of her organization Women Speak For Themselves, offered the following critique, noting four continuing concerns:
1. The first “expansion” of the exemption is as small as the government could make it. Religious organizations which exist to spread the faith (i.e. Churches)– when they also do things like serve the poor or educate kids in a religious school–may have the exemption for those ministries as well as the Church itself.
2. Religious institutions who are not primarily in the business of spreading the faith– likely hospitals, schools, etc.– can have the exemption after a complicated “self-certification” procedure, but their employees and students will get free contraception without their employers’ input–under separate policies issued directly from the insurance company.
3. My third observation is not about the law, but about the administration. Their desperation to get contraception, early abortifacients and sterilization into the hands of every woman and girl would be comical if they weren’t in such deadly earnest. These new regulations are very long and very convoluted and very intent on exempting the fewest folks possible. I doubt most other provisions of the health care law have received this kind of attention.
4. Individuals and businesses which are not religious institutions are completely unprotected… THIS IS DISTURBING. In America, the right of religious freedom extends to all.
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops responded to the “modifications to the Mandate” with a statement, reiterating their call for conscience protections for all people of faith. You can access their action alert here.
You contact the White House on-line here.
Or better yet, you can respond on-line at this link.
Or, if you prefer to send your comments via First Class mail, write to:
President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500
Vice President Joe Biden
Old Executive Office Building
Washington, DC 20501
Secretary Kathleen Sebelius
U.S. Department of Health & Human Services
200 Independence Avenue, S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20201