Senator Marco Rubio Writes a Bill: The Religious Freedom Restoration Act

How weird has it gotten when a right that is codified in the law of the land, and firmly seared onto the nation’s psyche, has to be backed up by another bill? Well that is what we have come to.  The Huffington Post, and a whole host of other news agencies, has the scoop.

WASHINGTON — Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) introduced a bill on Monday that would override the Obama administration’s new rule on birth control coverage and allow religious hospitals, universities, and other organizations that morally oppose contraception to refuse to cover it for their employees.

Churches and other places of worship are already exempt from the Department of Health and Human Services’ mandate, which requires that most health plans cover contraception without a co-pay beginning on Aug. 1, 2013. The Religious Freedom Restoration Act, S. 2043, would expand the refusal clause to include any employer who opposes contraception “on the basis of religious belief.”

“This is a common-sense bill that simply says the government can’t force religious organizations to abandon the fundamental tenets of their faith because the government says so,” Rubio said in a statement.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and other major religious lobbying groups pushed hard against the birth control mandate, which insures that the vast majority of insured women in the country can easily afford birth control, arguing that it tramples on the constitutional right to religious liberty. Reproductive rights advocates contend that allowing certain employers to deny birth control coverage to women based on their own beliefs about contraception is unfair and discriminatory, and would have negative consequences for women’s health.

“This bill will ride roughshod over the rights of American citizens so that employers can discriminate against them and take personal matters of conscience into their own hands,” said Jon O’Brien, president of the advocacy group Catholics for Choice. “This is real government interference in the lives of citizens — not very Republican of [Rubio] in an election year to have government dictating what people should do in personal matters, especially since most Catholics use a method of contraception the bishops disagree with.”

Go read the rest. Of course, Deacon Greg scooped me on this one too. I love that guy!

Have you shared the petition with your elected officials yet?

  • Anthony S. Layne

    Jon O’Brien, master of the non sequitur.

  • Mariann Janus

    You are awesome Marco! I did send the petition letters to my representatives and also called a couple diocese to make sure they put all the names and addresses and websites and phone nos. for the people so they know who to voice their opinions to about the HHS Mandate. I also called my Pastor and asked him to think about what the Bishop of Illinois suggested… add the St. Michael the Archangel Prayer into our intercessions at Mass. Suggested that to the Diocese that I called.

    Praise and Honor to our Lord,


  • Tim VonItter

    “negative consequence on women’s health”… are they saying that pregnancy is a disease… unhealthy? I don’t think their mothers were sick… but their children certainly became…

  • giovannimariatommaso

    Restoration Act: As well meaning & sounding as this bill might appear on the surface; it may be too much in haste & play right into the hands of the deceiver. We already have the tool in the United States to combat this type of non-sense by irrationals & immoral people; it is The Constitution of the United States of America & the bill that needs be introduced is a bill that would stipulate that the government follow the Constitution.

    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

    The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.

    • Frank Weathers

      Agreed. This is already codefied. Totalitarian power grabs are unconstitutional. This will be settled by the third branch, most likely.