Obama Mandate Panel Never Considered Conscience Clause

National   Steven Ertelt   Feb 29, 2012   |   4:39PM    Washington, DC

During a Judiciary Committee hearing Tuesday night, Representative Sandy Adams questioned Dr. Linda Rosenstock, chair of the Preventive Services for Women Committee of the Institute of Medicine (IOM), about the Obama administration’s Health and Human Services’ (HHS) controversial mandate.

At the request of the HHS Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, the IOM assembled a committee to provide information and to recommend preventative services for women to be included in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 – a committee on which Dr. Rosenstock served.

Rosenstock admitted that the IOM panel that put together the mandate that targets religious liberties admitted that it never considered adding a conscience clause.

“During the hearing, Dr. Rosenstock admitted to Adams that meetings which were instrumental in shaping the Obama administration’s unconstitutional HHS mandate were held behind closed doors and that transcripts from the meeting have not been made public,” Adam said. “Additionally, Dr. Rosenstock confessed that the committee did not consider any conscience clause or religious exemptions during its meetings.”

“With the committee’s lack of transparency and objectivity, it seems the meetings had a predetermined outcome.  This begs the question: If the Obama administration is shaping public policy that will affect millions of Americans and violates a standard of religious freedom that is cemented in our Constitution, why are certain meetings and documents being kept from the public?” Adams continued.

This lack of transparency and objectivity led another member of the IOM committee, Anthony Lo Sasso, to dissent from the final report.  He stated in his dissent, “…the committee process for evaluation of the evidence lacked transparency and was largely subject to the preferences of the committee’s composition. Troublingly, the process tended to result in a mix of objective and subjective determinations filtered through a lens of advocacy.”

The transcript of the questioning follows:

Rep. Adams: Dr. Rosenstock, I’ve been listening in great amazement here.  You said that your committee met.  Was that open to the public?

Dr. Rosenstock: Yes, absolutely.

Rep. Adams: It was open to the public and all the transcripts are available to the public?

Dr. Rosenstock: We do have some close sessions in the – which is…

Rep. Adams: So not all the meetings were open to the public then?

Dr. Rosenstock: Right. And that’s…

Rep. Adams: Okay. Well, I’ve got a minute so I am going to make sure you don’t filibuster me…

Dr. Rosenstock: Every single meeting had an open session let me just be clear…

Rep. Adams: I asked you if it was completely open to the public.  You said some meetings were closed door. That’s that answer I am asking for.  It’s just a quick question and answers because I know you’re leaving and I want to get my answers in, or questions in.  So you’ve had some closed door meetings and can I ask at anytime did you consider any conscience clause or religious exemptions when you were having these discussions?

Dr. Rosenstock:  No, we did not.