Over 85,000 File Comments on HHS Mandate

Logo image

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

Gallaudet University Employee Suspended for Signing Petition on Same-Sex Marriage

Dr Anglea McCaskill (CNA)

Evidently, academic freedom and the right of citizens to petition their government is a hit and miss thing at Gallaudet University.

Dr Angela McCaskill was placed on administrative leave from her position as chief diversity office at Gaudet University for exercising her right as an American citizen to sign a petition calling for a vote of the people.

The petition in question sought to allow the voters of the state of Maryland the opportunity to vote for or against allowing a law legalizing same sex marriage that had passed through the Maryland Legislature. Dr McCaskill has stated that she signed the petition because she wanted to give the citizens of the state the right to vote on the issue.

All American citizens, including homosexuals, have the right to advocate for changes in the law through lobbying, the electoral process and the courts. I support homosexuals’ right to do this unequivocally. However, the people who disagree with them on various issues have the same rights.

These bullying tactics cheapen their cause.

A CNA article describing Dr McCaskill’s situation reads in part:

Annapolis, Md., Oct 24, 2012 / 04:00 am (CNA/EWTN News).- A university employee who was placed on administration leave said that she has been humiliated and intimidated for her belief that Maryland voters should determine whether to implement a “gay marriage” law in the state.

“I am dismayed that Gallaudet University is still a university of intolerance, a university that manages by intimidation, a university that allows bullying among faculty, staff and students,” Dr. Angela McCaskill said at an Oct. 16 press conference in Annapolis, Md.

“I am pro-democracy,” she stated, explaining that she believes it is important “that we as the citizens of Maryland have an opportunity to vote.”

McCaskill, a deaf African American, spoke in sign language with the help of an interpreter to explain how she had been removed from her position as Chief Diversity Officer at Gallaudet University, an institution that serves the deaf and hard of hearing.

In March, a law to redefine marriage in the state of Maryland passed, but it was delayed from taking effect until January 2013, allowing time for its opponents to put it before voters in a November referendum.

McCaskill was one of 200,000 Maryland residents who signed a petition to put the measure before the people. Now, she believes that she is facing intimidation and punishment from her employer for exercising her rights.

At the press conference, McCaskill said that she had been approached by Martina Bienvenu, a Gallaudet University faculty member in the American Sign Language and Deaf Studies department.

Bienvenu asked her if she had signed the petition, and she replied that she had.

“In this very moment, she determined that this signature meant I was anti-gay,” McCaskill said, explaining that Bienvenu and her partner wrote a letter to the president of the university asking that she be punished.

On Oct. 10, university president T. Alan Hurwitz announced that McCaskill was being placed on paid administrative leave. He said that he would announce an interim Chief Diversity Officer and would “determine the appropriate next steps.”

Upon hearing the news, McCaskill said she “couldn’t believe it.”

“I was shocked, hurt, insulted. I was humiliated,” she explained. “Not only for myself, but for the students of Gallaudet University. They deserve better.”

“I offered to have a campus-wide dialogue on this very sensitive issue,” McCaskill said.

“I believe in civil discourse. I thought it was important that as a citizen of the state of Maryland, that I could exercise my right to participate in the political process.

“I thought that this would have been an incredible opportunity to teach our campus,” she explained. “Unfortunately, that opportunity was lost.”

She said that the university has “allowed misinformation to be circulated throughout the campus community,” adding that her reputation and 24 years of service to the university have been tarnished. (Read more here.)


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X