A new bill filed by pro-life lawmakers in the House would gut the HHS mandate included in Obamacare that forces religious groups to pay for or refer women for abortion-causing drugs and birth control.
Representative Jim Sensenbrenner, a Wisconsin Republican and former chair of the House Judiciary Committee, introduced the Religious Freedom Tax Repeal Act at a press conference. He said the legislation “aims to stop the Obama Administration from taxing religious institutions for choosing to follow core tenets of their faith rather than bow to the HHS mandate that violates their conscience rights.”
Sensenbrenner’s bill would get rid of the taxes faced by employers who choose not to cover certain healthcare benefits “by reason of adherence to a religious belief or moral conviction.”
“Religious-affiliated institutions have been one of the ways that there has been diversity provided in education, in healthcare, and in various types of social services,” Sensenbrenner said. “I don’t think they should be taxed out of business, and neither do my co-sponsors.”
Rep. Diane Black, a pro-life Tennessee Democrat, is a co-sponsor of the bill.
Conscience Cause, a grassroots organization representing leaders of numerous faiths and committed to defending religious liberty and rights of conscience, said it strongly supported the measure.
“Representatives Sensenbrenner, Black, Petri, Quayle and Fortenberry should be commended for introducing this important piece of legislation. Americans of all faiths are united in the fight to preserve religious freedom and stop any penalty being levied on religious institutions for practicing their faiths,” the group said. “This mandate is an unprecedented attack on the first amendment and on our nation’s cherished heritage of religious freedom, a guiding principle of our founding fathers. Leaders of various faiths, and those who believe in our constitution, have recognized that this policy impacts people of all faiths, as well as those they serve, and will lead us down a slippery slope where government officials manage religious institutions.”
“Conscience Cause will alert all of our supporters about this legislation and encourage them to spread the word online and through friends, neighbors, churches and synagogues and civic groups,” the group added. “People of all faiths are looking to members of Congress to repeal this mandate, which forces religious institutions to pay for services that violate their faith and which redefines the very definition of a religious organization.”
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While the legislation proceeds, lawsuits against the mandate are allowed to proceed as well following the Supreme Court decision upholding Obamacare.