New Obama Administration Rule Would Make Christian Groups Pay for Abortions

National   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   Nov 11, 2015   |   12:32PM   |   Washington, DC

Ten leading Christian organizations are calling on the Obama administration to change a proposed rule that could force religious groups to promote or pay for abortions.

The newly-proposed rule from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services would expand so-called nondiscrimination policies regarding health care coverage under the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare.

In a letter to HHS, the prominent Evangelical and Catholic groups said the new rule could require religious organizations to provide abortion coverage or referrals, even if it is against their beliefs, the Christian Post reports.

While the groups agreed that sex discrimination should be prevented, they said the proposed rules go too far by infringing on people’s religious rights.

“This expansive definition of sex discrimination … is likely to have a detrimental effect on the privacy interests of patients, to interfere in some instances with the effective delivery of health care services, and to infringe upon the religious and moral convictions of health care providers, insurers, and other stakeholders,” according to the letter.

The proposed rule includes references to discrimination based on “termination of pregnancy,” or abortion, according to the letter. While the proposal does not say that organizations must cover and refer for abortion, it could be easily interpreted that way, the groups told the government. The religious groups called on HHS to change the rule so that it “state(s) explicitly” that religious groups cannot be forced to cover or refer for abortions.
The letter continues, “… the regulations ought to have a religious exemption of proper scope. We believe that the changes urged in this letter are critical and that without them, the regulations are unlikely to survive scrutiny in the courts.”

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Pro-life and religious groups are very watchful of new rules handed down through the Obama administration, after investigations revealed that Obama lied about taxpayer funding for abortion in Obamacare. A 2014 non-partisan Government Accountability Office report showed that the health care law provides massive public funding for abortion.

Signing the letter were the National Association of Evangelicals, Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, Family Research Council, World Vision, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Christian Legal Society, Christian Medical Association, Institutional Religious Freedom Alliance, Liberty Institute, and The National Catholic Bioethics Center.