An Indiana minister who claims to be a pro-life Christian testified against a religious freedom ruling Friday during U.S. Senate hearings on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
Alicia Baker, a community development organizer and ordained Free Methodist Church minister from Indianapolis, urged the Senate to oppose Kavanaugh’s confirmation because of his decision to grant religious exemptions to the Obamacare HHS mandate.
“If Judge Kavanaugh is confirmed, access to affordable birth control will be in jeopardy,” Baker said. “This committee and the Senate must weigh the harmful impact Judge Kavanaugh would have on the health and well being of so many people.”
In 2015, Kavanaugh sided with Priests for Life in its challenge of the Obamacare HHS mandate while serving on the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. He said the government should not force religious employers to provide drugs and devices that may cause abortions.
“I concluded that penalizing someone thousands and thousands of dollars for failing to fill out a form because of their religious beliefs was wrong,” Kavanaugh said during the hearing Thursday.
Baker disagreed, arguing that women will suffer if religious organizations are exempted from the pro-abortion mandate.
“Jesus directs us to advocate for a just society that allows people to live their lives to the fullest. Jesus directs us to advocate for a just society that allows people to live their lives to the fullest. In John 10:10, Jesus says, ‘I have come that you might have life, and have it to the full,’” Baker said. “And this means supporting access to affordable birth control, because by permitting individuals to plan if, whether and when to become pregnant, birth control allows us to live our fullest lives.”
In her opening remarks, Baker claimed to be a pro-life Christian. But most employers who challenged the HHS mandate are pro-life Christians who did not want to be forced to provide birth control that may cause abortions. The most well-known HHS challenger, Hobby Lobby, objected to just four forms of birth control that may act as abortifacients, including the IUD and ella; it provided 16 other forms to its employees without objection.
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Baker said she became involved in the fight right before her wedding when her insurance would not cover her IUD. She said she and her husband decided that, for financial reasons, they would wait a little while before having children. Baker said her doctor recommended an IUD because of previous trouble she had had with hormonal birth control. However, her insurance company would not cover the device – something that Baker said left her “shocked” and caused a lot of stress right up to her wedding.
Her insurance told her it did not cover the device because it can act as an abortifacient, something Baker refused to believe.
However, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Women’s Health, it does. Its website described the device this way in 2014: “It [sic – If] fertilization does occur, the IUD keeps the fertilized egg from implanting in the lining of the uterus.” A fertilized egg is already a living human being with his/her own unique DNA.
Baker fought her insurance company and eventually joined a lawsuit with the pro-abortion National Women’s Law Center to challenge the Trump administration’s rule expanding religious exemptions under the HHS mandate.
Kavanaugh could hear the lawsuit if he is confirmed and the case comes before the Supreme Court. That worries Baker.
“My faith dictates that I must speak out on behalf of the millions of women who stand to lose access to affordable birth control if Judge Kavanaugh is confirmed,” she said. “As a person of deep faith, I would never impose my religious beliefs on anyone – and no one else should either.”
But women like Baker have not been prevented from accessing birth control, including types that may cause abortions. Baker paid for hers herself, and other women may do so as well if their employers object.
Kavanaugh was correct in siding with religious individuals who the government threatened with heavy fines if they did not comply. Religious freedom is a core part of America, and religious individuals should not be forced to either give up their businesses or pay huge fines simply because they object to paying for something that could cause the death of an innocent unborn child. A Christian pastor should recognize that.