Keep Fighting for Freedom of Conscience on Obama Mandate

Opinion   |   Bill Saunders and Kellie Fiedorek   |   Apr 30, 2012   |   5:51PM   |   Washington, DC

The Obama Administration has failed the American people yet again. The failure this time lies in refusing to protect one of the most basic freedoms Americans enjoy—a freedom our Founders deemed so essential that they enshrined it in the 1st Amendment of the Constitution—the freedom of religion and of conscience.

The Administration made painfully clear in its recently issued Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking its unwavering determination to implement its coercive, life-ending drug mandate regardless of Americans’ deeply held religious beliefs or moral convictions. This so-called “preventive services” mandate includes the abortion-inducing drug ella.

A few days ago, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius appeared in a Hearing before the U.S. House of Representatives Education and Workforce Committee. Congressman Trey Gowdy (R-SC) questioned the Secretary. When Congressman Gowdy explained the balancing test the Constitution requires when the Government seeks to infringe on a Constitutionally-protected right—and noted that because religious freedom is a fundamental right, it therefore is afforded the most comprehensive protection and the Government is subject to strict scrutiny when it seeks to violate it—Secretary Sebelius responded that she was unacquainted with significant Supreme Court religious freedom cases and their outcomes.

Notably, the Secretary appeared unaware that it is impossible to both guarantee free coverage of life-ending drugs and devices to all Americans and to comprehensively protect Americans’ freedom of conscience. From her responses, one wondered if HHS is even aware of the first clause of the First Amendment.

The consequences of the HHS mandate cannot be overstated. Should the Mandate not be reversed, charities across America will be forced to close; homeless shelters and soup kitchens will cease to be able to provide shelter and food to the poor; many hospital systems will be forced to close leaving the sick and dying without care; Americans will have drastically fewer choices of physicians to care for themselves and their families; many colleges and schools will no longer be able to educate our children because they will be forced to close; and employers may no longer be able to provide insurance to their employees.

How then can we engage on this issue and defend the freedom of conscience today?

Of primary importance right now, our U.S. Representatives need to hear from us.

This week, and the week before Memorial Day, the House of Representatives will be back in their home districts. Call your Representative’s district office today to set up a face-to-face meeting with your Representative while he or she is in town. Members want to hear from you. Bring friends from your church, work, or school and sit down with your Representative. Tell them your concerns and how the Mandate will affect you and your communities. Ask them to defend our constitutionally-protected right in Congress.



Additional opportunities exist that we should take advantage of to let our voices be heard. Submit Letters to the Editor or write an op-ed for your local newspapers. Use resources at and put together flyers that you can hand out at your churches, schools, the library, etc. Organize or participate in a religious freedom rally. Check out for educational information and resources to prepare for your meetings, to find the latest information, and to discover future opportunities to stand up for religious freedom and the freedom of conscience.

United as Americans, let us speak out loud and clear that we will not acquiesce to this mandated coverage for abortion-inducing drugs that violates our basic American freedoms.