Over 85,000 File Comments on HHS Mandate

Americans have the right to petition their government.

Eighty-five thousand of us took advantage of that right by commenting on the latest version of the HHS Mandate. This isn’t the first go-round of this process where the mandate is concerned. Back in August 2011 when the initial rule was issued, 147,000 commenters, most of them again the Mandate, filed comments.

It is mind boggling how much political capital the Obama administration has expended on this outrageous attempt to subvert the First Amendment. One of the many things that amazes me is the President’s willingness to play games with the American people by misrepresenting the issue and deliberately deepening the divides of the culture wars that are damaging us as a society. His allegiance to Planned Parenthood evidently knows no bounds.

If there’s one thing I know about politics, it’s that you don’t quit until the fight is over. This fight won’t be over until we have preserved the right to religious freedom for all Americans.

This article from the National Catholic Register gives a run-down of the history of this fight so far.

WASHINGTON — More than 85,000 parties have filed comments ahead of today’s 11:59pm Eastern time deadline to respond to the federal government about the latest version of its mandate that forces employers to provide contraceptives, abortifacients and sterilization in their employee health-insurance plans.

“There is still a lot of energy behind this in the Catholic community,” said Anthony Picarello Jr., associate general secretary and general counsel for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, which urged Catholics and people of good will to submit their comments with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

More than 147,000 comments — most critical of the mandate — were previously filed when the government’s initial rule was issued in August 2011 and when the Obama administration proposed its first accommodation in February 2012.

The bishops’ March 20 report said last year’s proposed accommodation was inadequate and that the administration’s latest version of the mandate still violates religious liberty and conscience rights.

The USCCB filed its 26-page comment with HHS on March 20. The report said the mandate was virtually unchanged and that its religious “exemption“ still excludes most religious organizations and does not remove the burden on religious freedom.

EWTN’s Response

The Eternal Word Television Network also filed a comment, asserting that the government’s proposed rule does not permit anyone other than a church to be exempt from the mandate, noting that religious beliefs and conscience objections are held by people and organizations that are not churches.

The government is essentially forcing EWTN — which owns the Register — and other objecting parties to call contraceptives, sterilization and abortion-inducing pills “good” and to pay for them, without deductibles or co-pays by employees, says the filing, which was signed by EWTN President and CEO Michael Warsaw and General Counsel John Manos.

EWTN’s comment says, “At the heart of this dispute is whether EWTN or persons with similar beliefs must use their bodies and money to support this erroneous belief under government force. The Constitution restrains the government from forcing its beliefs on individuals, particularly any religious belief.”

“Yet this mandate persists to force EWTN and others to part with money and their health under threat of government force,” the filing adds. “Thus this fight is not about providing health care; it is about an erroneous belief, which the government accepts as a foregone conclusion, that contraceptives, voluntary sterilizations and abortion-inducing drugs are health care. EWTN refuses, by exercising the rights guaranteed to it by the same government, to swallow this error and merely ‘go along.’”


Read more: http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/tens-of-thousands-beat-deadline-to-protest-hhs-mandate?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+NCRegisterDailyBlog+National+Catholic+Register#When:2013-04-8%2023:11:01#ixzz2PyzUbEtA

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  • Theodore Seeber

    Gee, you’d think that would be an indication not to mess with this. Until you realize that 85,000 comments is less than 1% of the electorate, then you know we’ve got a tyranny of the majority situation. I rather doubt we’ll get anything out of this level anyway, Catholics are going to have to suffer for the faith before this gets resolved.

    • CathyLouise

      Mr. Seeber, while 85,000 signatures may seem like a small amount when you consider the voting population, I’ve always heard that whenever anyone takes time to write/call/email or in any way communicate with politicians, they realize that means many other people feel that way who didn’t take the time to write. So they may consider 85,000 actually means many, many more people feel that way. There’s may even some sort of formula for it. The number really isn’t anything to be too discouraged about.

  • http://theshepherdspresence.wordpress.com Karyl

    It is convincing to me that as I watch so many thing unfold simoultaneously that this administration, headed by President Obama has the intent of “fogging” issues because people tend to forget one issue over another and while the unattended issue is left — the government powers move in and make a decision. We then are saying, “Wait, wait, when did this happen?” or “What ever happened to . . . ” I really do honestly think that the President hopes that will happen with the Benghazi investigation. It seems there must be a bulldog on every corner and in every hallway. Thank you, Rebecca, for bringing this issue to my attention because it was lurking out in the fog while I am trying to motivate people to speak on on educational issues and gun control and not forget the tragic events of Benghazi. It is exhausting.

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      Everything you said is true, Karyl. Thank you.

  • Bill S

    It doesn’t matter how many people oppose the HHS mandate and its amendments, the Obama administration is only going to do what the courts force it to do. Obama knows that those against it are the same ones who voted against him. He no longer has to worry about votes.

  • Guest

    As my moral obligation as both a Catholic and an American I submitted my comment against the HHS mandate and the medical/public health re-classification of pregnancy as as a disease requiring access to ‘preventive care’. But I admit having to overcome a strong reluctance to do so since I put nothing past this un-Godly administration and would not be surprised that my e-mail and IP address is now stored in some gov database of enemies to the cause.

  • FW Ken

    The target was chosen carefully: contraception is a specifically Catholic issue, and one rejected by many voters… Catholics… as it is. But the principle is established and if they can go it to a Catholics over contraception, they can do it to anyone over anything.

    Furthermore, it’s not simply contraception. Abortifacient means abortion-inducing. They intend that we all pay for abortions. I daresay that’s the primary goal in any case.