Sebelius Says Government Will Enforce HHS Mandate Aug 1

Now, here’s a surprise.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced that the agency will go ahead with enforcement of the HHS Mandate on August 1.

Sebelius, more than any other government official, is responsible for this broadside against religious freedom. The hand-picked committee that wrote this regulation operated under her agency’s control. That is not to gainsay that President Obama signed it and has backed it to the max, despite promises he made to pro life Democratic members of Congress.

The Affordable Health Care Act, often called Obamacare, includes provisions for freedom of conscience and religious exemptions. The President also made public promises to Democratic Congressmen, primarily Congressman Bart Stupak, on this issue. The President was forced to do this in order to pass the Affordable Health Care Act. Former Congressman Stupak signed a letter in opposition to the HHS Mandate in which he referred to these promises and said that the President had failed to live up to them.

The Affordable Health Care Act included provisions that the Health and Human Services Department would promulgate rules and regulations to enforce the law. The committee charged with this came up with the HHS Mandate, which broke the President’s word and created what seems to be an on-going attack on religious liberty in America. Membership of this committee contained a heavy component of Planned Parenthood and abortion advocates.

Secretary Sebelius is the former Governor of Kansas. During her tenure as governor, she went so far as to use her power as the state’s highest elected official to publicly campaign against and defeat pro life Democratic state Senator Mark Gilstrap, presumably for opposing her on the issue of abortion. She also received and accepted large campaign donations from Dr George Tiller, the controversial doctor who was infamous for performing late-term abortions in Wichita, Kansas. Dr Tiller was murdered in 2009.

All this is to say that the HHS Mandate is not, as its supporters like to claim, a law. It is a regulation written by a committee of unelected, hand-picked abortion supporters many of whom were financially connected to organizations that will benefit from the mandate. As such, it has very little to do with “women’s health” or access to birth control, and a great deal to do with using the power of government to attack and, if possible, destroy, organizations that these groups such as Planned Parenthood see as their political opponents.

That committee was not a balanced and reasonable group of citizens working in good faith. It was a hanging jury designed to use the Affordable Health Care Act to promote the viewpoint of a few organizations and one side of the culture wars.

An article from The Washington Times concerning Sebelius’ plans to implement the HHS Mandate August 1, says in part:

President Obama’s top health official said Monday the administration will finalize its new rules granting free birth control, saying the controversial policy will go into effect in August.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius‘ comments came the same day that the public comment period for the contraception mandate ended, and even as a bevy of nonprofit groups and companies are fighting in court to overturn it.

“As of Aug. 1, 2013, every employee who doesn’t work directly for a church or a diocese will be included in the benefit package,” Mrs. Sebelius said at a forum moderated by Reuters that was held at the Harvard School of Public Health.

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  • TKDB

    If they really were concerned with providing “Health and Human Services” as the name suggests, you’d think they’d have more important things to worry about than birth control.
    Fundamental human needs like food and shelter? They’ll give you a modest amount of help if you’re really hard up, but otherwise you’re on your own.
    But man, God forbid anyone ever has to pay out of pocket to avoid the possible unwanted consequences of recreational activities they voluntarily opt into! Gotta make sure that’s all subsidized, right?

  • Bill S

    I think the intent of the HHS mandate is to reduce unplanned pregnancies, which will reduce the amount of visits to health care facilities both in terms of pregnant women and children. From that perspective it makes perfect sense.

    What HHS has failed to acknowledge is the religious implications of the contraception. On the one hand, you can’t tell a woman that she has to pay for her own pills because her employers religion does not allow her to be on the pill. That would violate her First Amendment rights against the establishment of a state religion. On the other hand, it might be against the employers religion to abet an employee’s sin, which would be the case if the employee were of the same religion.

    It’s a real dilemma.

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      Bill, I think it is obvious that the intent of the HHS Mandate is to force religious people to compromise their faith. There is nothing at all about this Mandate that will reduce unintended pregnancies.

    • Margaret

      You mean like my insurance is currently violating my First Amendment rights by refusing to provide me with free bandaids??? Your claim that not providing contraceptives for free = rights violation is bizarre.

      • Bill S

        It would seem that way. But look at it this way. Suppose I am a woman working for a Catholic employer. I do not accept the Catholic Church’s stand on contraception and am on the pill. There is a regulation that requires my employer’s health plan to cover the cost of my pills. In a way, my employer is forcing me to adhere to her religious beliefs. That is exactly what the First Amendment was intended to prohibit.

        • Rebecca Hamilton

          Not at all. Just because someone won’t buy your birth control for you does not mean that anyone is forcing you to do anything — except, perhaps, walk over to Wal Mart and pull it down from the shelves yourself. Or — here’s an idea — get the guy you’re sleeping with to pay for it.

        • Theodore Seeber

          Since when does the constitution govern private business relationships?

          • Kim

            Since they put in the Commerce clause when it was first written.

            • Theodore Seeber

              Is that the same commerce clause that is only supposed to regulate *interstate* trade?

              As in, has nothing whatsoever to do with what two people in the same state agree to?

    • Theodore Seeber

      “I think the intent of the HHS mandate is to reduce unplanned pregnancies, which will reduce the amount of visits to health care facilities both in terms of pregnant women and children.”

      Which is exactly why I’m against it. We need MORE prenatal visits, not fewer. Saying that we have too many children is like saying we have too many flowers- and is proof to me that certain people should be locked up in insane asylums.

      This HATRED and BIGOTRY against PREGNANCY must end!

      • Bill S


        That is not a very convincing argument. Children are not flowers. And this isn’t a case of hatred and bigotry against pregnancy. This is family planning, a responsible practice for families and society.

        • Kristen inDallas

          There’s a bit of bigotry in the assumption that unplanned pregnancies should be limited. Unplanned does not necesarily mean unwanted or even unloved. Plenty of people in this world were “unplanned” and were just fine with that until uper-class lefty white folks start telling us there’s something wrong with having a child before saving up enough for the full college tuition and mapping out his/her life right down to the appropriate genomes in advance.

        • Theodore Seeber

          Children are MORE valuable than flowers- and yes, family planning is a hatred of pregnancy and procreation in general. Oh, they claim it’s about responsibility- but it is quite obvious that it is an attack on poor and minorities. Just look at the high schools where HHS’s TOP program is put in- every single one is minority white.

          The only thing worse than a teenage pregnant belly to these eugenicists- is a teenage pregnant belly with a permanent tan. The hatred and bigotry is obvious to anybody who is willing to look. Family planning is simply not wanting to share resources with “those people”.

  • midwestlady

    I have no idea why this is a surprise to anyone.

  • Guest

    This is no surprise at all. Do you know if there is any lawsuit seeking a federal injunction to suspend implementation of the rule until the Supreme Court rules on it? Businesses like Hobby Lobby will be subject to huge fines and perhaps no recourse to recover such fines, even if they could pay them, once the rule is abolished.

    • Guest

      Ooops. Sorry Rebecca for calling you Elizabeth. I had just come from the Anchoress.

      • Rebecca Hamilton

        No apology necessary. That’s a compliment!

  • Bill S

    “…the intent of the HHS Mandate is to force religious people to compromise their faith.”

    You know that’s not its intent. That is collateral damage. HHS probably had no clue it was offending religious sensibilities when it first issued the mandate. It still probably does not look at abetting a sin as a sin in itself. And, technically, is contraception even a sin for non-Catholics. I think we would first have to decide that there is such a thing as sin and must one agree that contraception is a sin for it to be one. It’s like committing to a diet and then eating a candy bar. It is an infraction for you but not for the thin woman eating one next to you.

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      I most emphatically do not know that.

      I believe that this is the whole purpose the Mandate. The department knew absolutely it was “offending religious sensibilities.” There were months of begging and pleading from the bishops for them not to do this thing. Also, I assume that the members of this committee, the Secretary and the President must have, at some point in their lives, heard of the First Amendment.

      Then, let’s consider the bold promises in this regard that the President made in order to get the Affordable Health Care Act (Obamacare) passed by Congress. Promises which the Congressman to whom he gave them has publicly and in writing stated that the President violated with this Mandate.

      Of course, they did this to bring the church under their heel.

      • Bill S

        “Of course, they did this to bring the church under their heel.”

        That sounds like a government conspiracy theory to me. It should be easy to debunk.

        • Rebecca Hamilton

          Take your best shot.

    • SteveP

      BillS: You purport to be too old to exhibit such naivety. The HHS Mandate was a brilliant political fusillade to open the “War on Women” which was the foundation of last year’s successful re-election of the incumbent Executive. A rumor of war often hastens solidarity.
      Of course the aim was directly at the heart of the Church which is care of the downtrodden and dispossessed. Note, as Rebecca relays, the Administration’s rejection of the USCCB’s conciliatory overtures to partnership.
      The Administration’s message to women: you are only useful if you are barren. The Church’s message to women: you are a vibrant, beautiful creation called in a most special way to co-create with God beyond the gifts of intellect or artistry given by the Spirit; God is with you yesterday, today, and always.

      • Bill S

        “The Administration’s message to women: you are only useful if you are barren.”

        What do you want them to say, “you are only useful when you are bearing children”?

        • Rebecca Hamilton

          How about I apologize for the misogynist, woman-baiting campaign I ran in 2008 against Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin? Or maybe, I’ll use 1/10 of the energy I’m employing to make sure every woman has an abortion to make sure that every woman is free of rape, beating, torture?

          There are a lot of things this president might say to women besides “here’s your abortion, here’s you deadly chemicals to pump into your body.”

        • Kristen inDallas

          How about “you’re inherently valuable no matter what you do, so go forth and do it. oh and by the way, we find you perfectly compotent to figure out how to go out and make the life you want without forcing anyone else to help or condone your every decision”? How about we start putting on our big girl pants and save the handouts and coerced assistance for people who actually need it (children, the elderly, infirm, etc). How about govt. stop treating women as a minority/victimized class and start letting us take control of our own lives?

    • Theodore Seeber

      If the Catholic Kathleen Sebelius had no clue- then she should sue her law school for fraudulent behavior.

  • FW Ken

    The mandate is paving the way for tax-funded abortions. That’s been the goal of pro-abortion forces from the beginning.

    If I’ve said this, bear with me. It’s worth repeating: if they can do this to Christians over abortion, they can do do it to anyone over anything. There is no more freedom of religion or even freedom of conscience.

  • Manny

    “Secretary Sebelius is the former Governor of Kansas. During her tenure as governor, she went so far as to use her power as the state’s highest elected official to publicly campaign against and defeat pro life Democratic state Senator Mark Gilstrap, presumably for opposing her on the issue of abortion. ”

    Rebecca, you’re lucky you’re from Oklahoma where I assume pro-life might actually have a large demographic, otherwise I don’t know how one can still be a pro-life Democrat. Still Sibellius came from Kansas, which is about as pro-life as any state, and yet she did what she did to that poor state senator. Frankly I think Sibelius is a real b*tch. She’s driving this HHS mandate and she’s obssessed with it. May it be defeated in the courts. Otherwise I hope they excommunicate her. She’s no real Catholic.

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      I’m lucky in my district Manny. I may write about this at some point. The good people who elect me elected me when I was a pro choice, former head of NARAL. They voted for me over a 16-year incumbent. Then, they turned around and re-elected me after I’d had a religious conversion, become Catholic and was totally pro life. In that election, I spent $5,000 on my campaign while my opponents spent over $100,000. I won by 65% of the vote.

      It’s the people I represent Manny. They are the best there is.

    • Kristen inDallas

      Manny, please try insulting her policies or desicions the way you would a man’s. Rather than using a slur meant to deman any woman who takes “too strong” a stance on any particular issue. People use that same word to describe Sarh Palin, Hilary Clinton, Bachman, and probably Rebecca and any other woman who starts getting things done in the name of her cause. It really doen’t mean much or help your argument at all.

  • Peg

    Absolutely agree completely with SteveP and Manny…well said brothers! Rebecca, thanks for keeping it real!

  • Peg

    Another Obama lie is when he says he wants his daughters to be able to go to Planned Parenthood. I think we all know that whatever services his daughters will have as minors or later seek as adults will no doubt be in a private very expensive OB office–not the local PP office, especially not the unregulated one in downtown Chicago where a young woman lost her life last summer.

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      I normally don’t allow comments about public figures’ children, but since the President (very unwisely) drug his daughters into it himself, I will allow this. However, let’s all remember that they are just little girls and not the object of this debate.

  • Peg

    The comment wasn’t about his children but rather about what he said about them. I think they are beautiful girls that he should not use politically. I absolutely agree that children not be part of the argument which was the point however poorly made. I understand what you are saying and thought Amy Carter was treated horribly especially by the media.

    What really bothers me is that all these politicians have health insurance and resources that the rest of the country does not have especially with Obamacare which has already caused skyrocketing costs for families. So I have always kind of resented the “I’m there with you” remarks that don’t relate to reality.

    It’s fine if folks can honestly afford quality healthcare for their families bit politicians should want it for everyone and that’s not what PP offers the least of His. So please no offense meant to the daughters—I just don’t want him to lie or pedal unlicensed, unsafe, death inducing “medical” services to someone else’s daughter and have Christian organizations pay for it.

  • Bill S

    “family planning is a hatred of pregnancy and procreation in general.”

    Ted, people don’t have to procreate every time they have sex. There is nothing wrong with deciding how many children. Stop looking for evil in people’s every action.

    • SteveP

      It is obvious that not every episode of coitus results in conception which is why you hear of couples “working at having a child.” What is absurd is to sterilize yourself, chemical or through artifice, and then engage in the act of breeding. How is this any different than eating a meal and then vomiting it out?

      • pagansister

        “How is this different than eating a meal and then vomiting it out?” Well SteveP, one isn’t sterilized when using a condom—-and that is pretty reliable for prevention of conception, if a person doesn’t want to use other means. Fun without the fear of conception. So glad the one doesn’t have to eat and vomit each time they have sex! I’d hate to have worried thru my married life that each time we made love that I might get pregnant!

  • pagansister

    I agree with Bill S., Theodore—people don’t have to procreate every time they have sex. Family planning is just that—planning. Why take a chance on a pregnancy when a couple isn’t prepared to have a child or another child at a particular time? Sex is for pleasure as well as having a child—if indeed a child is wanted. Some couples do not want any children—does that mean they should never have sex, Theodore?

    • SteveP

      It is easy for you to research sexual reproduction to find that reproduction incentive through sensual feedback is a strategy rather than an end. Put another way, would humans reproduce if there was nothing in it for them at the moment?
      Further, the Church holds that the unitive – the pleasure you speak of is a small part of the unitive – and procreative aspects of copulation are a pair: both must be present for either to be present.
      To answer the question you posed to Ted: If a person does not want atherosclerosis should they abstain from eating at McDonalds?

  • Tommy

    . . .and this isn’t really about who foots the bill for contraceptives, it’s about the Catholic Church wanting to restrict their use, period. Institutional freedom vs. personal freedom? That, to me, seems to be the real question.

  • pagansister

    I understand the Churches’ concept—-enjoyment is only part of the process, to encourage making babies—as the marriage vows include accepting all children God gives you. If one believes that God controls ones fertility, then I guess that works. As to your last question—I see no connection between your last statement and life. Many folks enjoy sexual activity simply because it is what it is…..and since a woman doesn’t have to worry any more about pregnancy each time, why not engage in it? No, perhaps it isn’t as necessary as food, but to some it is. One has to eat, but not necessarily at Mickey D’s.

  • Mary

    Rebecca, I don’t understand. If the HHS is not law then how will people be fined and I’m assuming put in jail when some of them do not pay those fines? Their not ” breaking the law”, their “breaking the regulation”? Could you please explain it to me. Thank you so much for this blog!

    • Rebecca Hamilton

      Mary, when I say it is not a “law” what I mean is that it is not a statute which has been passed by a legislative body. It is a “regulation,” which was promulgated by a hand-picked, appointed and unelected committee. The Affordable Health Care Act has provisions in it for the Health and Human Services Department to “promulgate rules” for its enforcement. This is common to much legislation. Congress can not enforce the laws it passes. The FBI might enforce it, or any other agency that Congress names. This committee of the Health and Human Services Department “promulgated” the HHS Mandate. The Mandate is a clear violation of the promises that President Obama made to Congress, the American people and a number of pro-life Democratic Congressmen that the Affordable Health Care Act would respect religious freedom and would not violate freedom of conscience. The President lied; flat out, and on the record. At least one of the Congressmen he lied to has said so in writing and on the record.

      When the Health and Human Services Department of the United States Government “promulgated” the HHS Mandate, the President signed it. He has also misrepresented it to the American people. This Mandate is not a law, but is has what is called “the force of law” which it derives from the Affordable Health Care Act. All Congress has to do is overturn this Mandate and make good on the promises they made to the American people. Instead, a good number of them joined in with the president in mischaracterizing the Mandate.

      Is that clear as mud? Politicians rely on the confusion this kind of sleight of hand stuff creates to get away with running over the people all the time. It’s commonplace.

  • Mary

    Thank you so much for taking time to explain that Rebecca.
    There seems to be no working conscience in those in our present administration, they have chosen to be schooled by the Margaret Sanger’s of the world.
    Praise God we know the end of the story! I, like you will continue to speak the truth and pray, with hope, for those who are lost.
    I will keep you in my prayers at Adoration in the morning. God bless you, Mary