Speaker John Boehner took to the House floor to give a rare speech today pledging that House Republicans will do everything possible to reverse the new mandate the Obama administration put in place forcing coverage of birth control and abortion-causing drugs.
He promised that, if Obama doesn’t reverse the new policy, Congress will. He called the rule an attack on religious freedom in the country, saying, the rule “cannot stand, and will not stand.”
“In recent days, Americans of every faith and political persuasion have mobilized in objection to a rule put forward by the Obama Administration that constitutes an unambiguous attack on religious freedom in our country,” Boehner said. “This rule would require faith-based employers – including Catholic charities, schools, universities, and hospitals – to provide services they believe are immoral. Those services include sterilization, abortion-inducing drugs and devices, and contraception.”
“This rule would require faith-based employers – including Catholic charities, schools, universities, and hospitals – to provide services they believe are immoral. Those services include sterilization, abortion-inducing drugs and devices, and contraception,” Boehner added. “If the president does not reverse the Department’s attack on religious freedom, then the Congress, acting on behalf of the American people and the Constitution we are sworn to uphold and defend, must. The House will approach this matter fairly and deliberately, through regular order and the appropriate legislative channels.”
“This attack by the federal government on religious freedom in our country must not stand and will not stand,” he said.
Boehner promised the Energy and Commerce Committee will move ahead on legislation introduced by pro-life Rep. Steve Chabot of Ohio to repeal the policy.
“I’m disgusted that the Obama administration would ignore the fundamental beliefs of our faith-based institutions and cram yet another mandate down our throats,” Chabot said in a statement Monday. “This shows blatant disregard for the religious liberty we enjoy as Americans. This crosses a clear line of conscience.”
However, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney would not say whether Obama would sign or veto a bill to repeal the HHS mandate.
“Well, I think there’s a lot of speculation embedded in that question and I’m not going to go there,” he said. “We are committed, the president is committed, to ensuring that woman have access to contraception without any extra cost, regardless of where they work.”
“He is very sensitive to concerns like these,” Carney said. “He wants to find a way to implement it that can allay some of the concerns expressed.”
The Obama administration is reportedly considering a compromise on its new mandate that has caused national outrage because it forces religious employers to cover birth control and drugs that may cause abortions. However, the leading pro-life spokesman for the Catholic bishops says the compromise may be worse.
Congressman Steve Scalise has led a bipartisan letter with 154 co-signers calling on the Obama Administration to reverse its unconstitutional mandate forcing religious organizations to include drugs that can cause abortion and birth control in the health care plans of their employees.
Bishops across the country have spoken out against the mandate and are considering a lawsuit against it — with bishops in more than 164 locations across the United States issuing public statements against it or having letters opposing it printed in diocesan newspaper or read from the pulpit.
“We cannot — we will not comply with this unjust law,” said the letter from Bishop Thomas Olmsted of Phoenix. “People of faith cannot be made second-class citizens.”
Responding to the announcement, Cardinal-designate Timothy Dolan, archbishop of New York and president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, stated: “In effect, the president is saying we have a year to figure out how to violate our consciences.”
“To force Americans to choose between violating their consciences and forgoing their healthcare is literally unconscionable. . . It is as much an attack on access to health care as on religious freedom,” he added.
The mandate is so egregious that even the normally reliably liberal and pro-abortion USA Today condemned it in an editorial titled, “Contraception mandate violates religious freedom.”
The administration initially approved a recommendation from the Institute of Medicine suggesting that it force insurance companies to pay for birth control and drugs that can cause abortions under the Obamacare government-run health care program.
The IOM recommendation, opposed by pro-life groups, called for the Obama administration to require insurance programs to include birth control — such as the morning after pill or the ella drug that causes an abortion days after conception — in the section of drugs and services insurance plans must cover under “preventative care.” The companies will likely pass the added costs on to consumers, requiring them to pay for birth control and, in some instances, drug-induced abortions of unborn children in their earliest days.
The HHS accepted the IOM guidelines that “require new health insurance plans to cover women’s preventive services” and those services include “FDA-approved contraception methods and contraceptive counseling” — which include birth control drugs like Plan B and ella that can cause abortions. The Health and Human Services Department commissioned the report from the Institute, which advises the federal government and shut out pro-life groups in meetings leading up to the recommendations.