Becket Fund to HHS: Tweaks to HHS Mandate Not Enough

Hannah Smith, Senior Counsel for the Becket Fund.

Washington D.C., Aug 28, 2012 / 03:58 am (CNA/EWTN News).- A slight revision of the federal contraception mandate offers some additional protection for certain religious employers but is not sufficient to ease religious freedom concerns, said a lawyer who is working to challenge the mandate in court.

Hannah Smith, senior counsel at the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, told CNA on Aug. 27 that the Obama administration is governing by “sloppyexecutive fiat” and is failing to address the underlying problem with the controversial mandate.

She explained that for the third time in seven months, the federal governmenthas rewritten the guidelines for the “safe harbor” that offers a one-year reprieve from the mandate to some non-profit religious organizations that object to its demands.

“They’re making it up as they go along,” she said. “They haven’t really thought through these issues carefully.”

The Becket Fund is representing Wheaton College, a Christian liberal arts college in Illinois, in a lawsuit challenging the mandate. The controversial rule requires employers to offer health insurance that covers contraception, sterilization and early abortion drugs, even if doing so violates their consciences. (Read more here.)