The head of the Department of Health and Human Services has an odd way of looking at the controversial Obamacare mandate that compels religious employers to pay for birth control and drugs that may cause abortions.
“We think [the proposal] upholds the religious beliefs of some, but does not impose religious views on an employee who may or may not share those religious beliefs,” Sebelius said yesterday. “Having said that, we’re being sued.”
Those were comments the pro-abortion HHS Secretary made yesterday as she guaranteed the public the Obama administration will impose the mandate on religious employers in a few months, starting August 1.
President Obama’s top health official said Monday the administration will finalize its new rules granting free birth control, saying the controversial policy will go into effect in August.
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius‘ comments came the same day that the public comment period for the contraception mandate ended, and even as a bevy of nonprofit groups and companies are fighting in court to overturn it.
“As of Aug. 1, 2013, every employee who doesn’t work directly for a church or a diocese will be included in the benefit package,” Mrs. Sebelius said at a forum moderated by Reuters that was held at the Harvard School of Public Health.
The contraception policy, which the administration issued as part of the new health care law, requires employers to provide health insurance that covers birth control, such as oral contraceptives and sterilization, without charging a copay.
Churches, temples and mosques were not affected, but religiously affiliated nonprofits such as Catholic schools and hospitals were required to comply.
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But Paul Rondeau of the public group American Life League, says the HHS mandate is a terrible imposition despite Sebelius’s remarks.
“White House shenanigans do not change the fact that the Affordable Care Act, Obamacare, still mandates “free” coverage of contraceptive, sterilization, and abortion producing drugs that pose medical risks and are triggered by and therefor linked directly to employer-provided health insurance,” he said.
“The latest faux accommodation is that a “free” insurance policy must automatically be issued for all employees of organizations exempt from providing these items and procedures. It magically is paid for by the insurance company so the religious employers and employees are not supposed to complain. This is sheer nonsense: No amount of bookkeeping sleight of hand changes the cause-effect relationship,” he added.
Mat Staver of LIberty Counsel, a pro-life legal group, concurs.
“On February 6, 2013, the Obama Administration released a proposed “accommodation” to the mandate under ObamaCare that all employers, even faith-based institutions, be required to provide free “contraceptive coverage,” including abortion-inducing drugs, to their employees and students,” he said.
“The “Religious Employer Exemption,” which would protect religious organizations from being forced to fund sterilization procedures, abortifacients, and contraceptives is written as a narrow exemption. It only protects churches, their integrated auxiliaries, conventions or associations of churches, and exclusively religious activities of any religious order,” he explained. “Most religious organizations do not fall within this narrowly defined category. For example, non-profit non-church organizations and all for-profit organizations will be forced to provide these “contraceptive services” for their employees and students.”