Obama Re-Election Makes Abortion-HHS Mandate a Bigger Threat

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Nov 9, 2012   |   12:47PM   |   Washington, DC

One of the top attorneys representing clients suing the Obama administration over its pr-abortion HHS mandate says the violations of religious liberty will become worse now that the president was elected to a second-term.

Kyle Duncan, the general counsel for The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, writes at the National Catholic Register about the problem.

The Affordable Care Act’s threat to religious liberty remains undiminished with the re-election of President Barack Obama.

Prior to Election Day, the number of lawsuits against the federal mandate to provide free insurance for contraception, sterilization and abortion-causing drugs had grown to 40, on behalf of some 100 plaintiffs — including the University of Notre Dame, the Archdiocese of Washington, Wheaton College, EWTN (the Register’s parent company) and Hobby Lobby stores.

Given its campaign promises, a Romney administration presumably would have rescinded the mandate or broadened protections for religious objectors. The Obama administration has given less hope that, in a second term, there will be any meaningful change to the mandate.

After all, this is the administration that authored the mandate to begin with and — heedless of public pleas from religious leaders across the spectrum of faiths — constructed a “religious employer” exemption so narrow that the ministries of Jesus Christ, St. Francis of Assisi and Mother Teresa would not qualify.

Back in February, the administration promised an “accommodation” for certain religious organizations, but it has left the details fuzzy and postponed finalizing it until August 2013.

But religious organizations trying to plan for the future are being harmed by the mandate now. And now that the election is past, many religious organizations are rightly skeptical that the alleged accommodation will resolve their basic concerns.

Duncan says lawsuits will continue and the results have been mixed in court. A bigger concern is the millions in fines noncompliant organizations will face — and business and the economy will be hurt as a result.



The government has flatly stated that a person who goes into business to make a profit loses any right to exercise religion in his business pursuits. A kosher butcher, for instance, would presumably have no religious rights associated with his decision to stock only kosher products. A Bible seller would have no religious rights associated with the sacred texts she is selling.

The profit motive alone dissolves these individuals’ rights to exercise religion. The government apparently wants to enforce its own theology of how God and mammon should mix. But its interpretation would bar individuals from providing for their families in ways consistent with their religious beliefs.

Alliance Defending Freedom attorney Alan Sears tells pro-life advocates that they should expect more battles with the Obama administration over the controversial HHS mandate that forces religious employers to pay for birth control and abortion-causing drugs.

“In the coming weeks and months, the Obama Administration will be emboldened like never before to intensify its attacks on your religious liberty, the sanctity of life, marriage and family, and our nation’s Constitution,” he said. “What you’ve seen up until now is just a taste of what’s to come. The platform of the President’s party and his outrageous promises to Planned Parenthood, advocates of homosexual behavior, and countless special interests assure us of this.”

Sears continues: “The Obama Administration will continue trampling on your faith and liberty by funneling hundreds of millions more taxpayer dollars to Planned Parenthood – which consistently encourages abortion and is the nation’s largest abortion provider and forcing Christian employers to either abandon their faith or pay staggering fines that will likely put them out of business, and appointing more and more liberal, activist judges.”

“This presidential election could have more consequences for your religious freedom and the future of America than any previous election in our nation’s 236-year history,” the pro-life attorney warns.

But Sears says pro-life advocates should not give up the fight or back down during the next four years.