Barbara Boxer: Right to Insurance Trumps Religious Freedom
by Steven Ertelt | Washington, DC | LifeNews.com | 2/15/12 1:57 PM
Barbara Boxer, the leading pro-abortion member of the U.S. Senate, made some comments in a recent MSNBC interview that are sparking outrage across the Internet today. Boxer essentially says the right to insurance trumps religious rights and freedoms.
The comments came during an interview concerning the controversial mandate pro-abortion President Barack Obama put in place recently requiring religious groups to pay for insurance coverage for birth control and drugs that may cause abortions.
As the Washington Examiner reports:
Senator Boxer warned yesterday that if the HHS contraception mandate was repealed it would set a dangerous precedence of religious rights trumping the right to be insured.
On MSNBC’s Politics Nation with Al Sharpton last night, Boxer affirmed that under the proposed amendment proposed by Sen. Roy Blunt, an employer would not be forced by the government to pay for medical practices against his religion.
“I mean, are they serious? Sharpton exclaimed, “How do you make a law where an employer can decide his own religious beliefs violate your right to be insured?”
“Oh Absolutely,” Boxer said, “Let’s use an example, let’s say somebody believes that medicine doesn’t cure anybody of a disease but prayer does and then they decide no medicine.
“No medicine!” she exclaimed, “Under the Blunt amendment, they could do just that.”
The new mandate pro-abortion President Barack Obama put in place forcing religious employers to pay for insurance coverage including birth control and abortion-inducing drugs is so offensive more than 50 members of Congress will speak out against it today.
Congressman Jeff Fortenberry will hold a press conference today with supporters of the bipartisan, bicameral Respect for Rights of Conscience Act. His legislation would protect the religious liberty and conscience rights of every American who objects to being forced by the strong-arm of government to pay for drugs and procedures recently mandated by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
The Fortenberry bill currently has the support of approximately 220 Members of Congress and Senators, the most strongly-supported legislative remedy to the controversial HHS mandate. This measure would repeal the controversial mandate, amending the 2010 health care law to preserve conscience rights for religious institutions, health care providers, and small businesses who pay for health care coverage.
The press conference comes as the U.S. Senate is expected to vote soon, possibly as early as today, on an amendment that would stop the mandate President Barack Obama put in place to force religious groups to pay for insurance coverage that includes birth control and abortion-causing drugs.
Sen. Roy Blunt, a pro-life Missouri Republican, is putting forward the Blunt Amendment, #1520, again, and it is termed the Respect for Rights of Conscience Act. According to information provided to LifeNews from pro-life sources on Capitol Hill, the Blunt Amendment will be the first amendment voted on when the Senate returns to the transportation bill. The amendment would allow employers to decline coverage of services in conflict with religious beliefs.
Republicans are moving swiftly with legislation, amendments, and potential hearings on the mandatethe Obama administration has put in place that forces religious employers to pay for birth control and abortion-inducing drugs for their employees.
Congress will do what it can to fight back, starting this week, as pro-life Rep. Darrell Issa, a California Republican, puts together a hearing on conscience rights.
“If this is what the President is willing to do in a tough election year, imagine what he will do in implementing the rest of his health care law after the election,” Issa said.
Rep. Dan Lipinski, a pro-life Illinois Democrat, and a host of Republicans from the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, chaired by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), will hold a hearing entitled, “Lines Crossed: Separation of Church and State. Has the Obama Administration Trampled on Freedom of Religion and Freedom of Conscience?” on Thursday, February 16th at 9:30AM in 2154 Rayburn House Office Building.
On Thursday, Senators Roy Blunt (R-MO), Ben Nelson (D-NE), and others offered Amendment #1520 to ensure Obamacare cannot be used to force health plan issuers or healthcare providers to furnish insurance coverage for drugs, devices, and services contrary to their religious beliefs or moral convictions. However, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, the top Democrat, blocked the amendment.
Leading pro-life groups, including Americans United for Life, are urging support for the Amendment, which could be added to another piece of legislation.
“The Obama Administration continued its unprecedented attack on Americans’ freedom of conscience by refusing to reverse its mandate that nearly all insurance plans must provide full coverage of all Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved “contraception,” including the abortion-inducing drug ella,” the organization said in an action alert to its members. “We must urge the Senate to protect Americans’ freedom of conscience by supporting Amendment #1520, which would protect the right to provide, purchase, or enroll in healthcare coverage that is consistent with one’s religious beliefs and moral convictions.”
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops issued a statement saying Obama’s revised mandate involves “needless government intrusion in the internal governance of religious institutions” and it urged Congress to overturn the rule and promised a potential lawsuit.
Meanwhile, the Republican presidential candidates had been taking verbal swings at Obama for imposing the original mandate on religious employers, which is not popular in the latest public opinion poll and which even some Democrats oppose.
Congressman Steve Scalise has led a bipartisan letter with 154 co-signers calling on the Obama Administration to reverse its 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 original 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.”
The original mandate was 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.