by Andrea Moury
Even though they are women and therefore, according to the Left, ought to be pro- “women’s health” (code words for abortion and contraception), they are nonetheless arguing that it is unacceptable to force others to pay for contraceptives. Doing so is a violation of the First Amendment’s right to religious freedom, they say.
Representatives Diane Black (R-Tenn.), Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.), Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo.), Martha Roby (R-Ala.), and Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.) recently authored a joint letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price voicing their support of President Trump’s draft proposal to rollback required employer contraceptive coverage under Obamacare.
The proposal would create an exemption to employers who, for religious or moral reasons, object to providing insurance coverage.
Rep. Black praised the plan as a victory for religious freedom:
Obamacare has devastated religious organizations, schools, and businesses, forcing them to cover abortion-related services that violate their religious beliefs. Protecting religious liberty is a foundational principle of this country, and this draft rule is a victory against President Obama’s assault on people of faith nationwide. Americans will no longer have to seek a burdensome exemption from the heavy hand of government, they will be left alone to practice their religion as they choose.
Rep. Foxx noted the importance of ensuring that religious freedom is not just confined to freedom of worship but that it also extends to protect Americans from being forced to participate in any activity which violates their religious beliefs:
The protection of religious belief and practice is enshrined in our Constitution’s First Amendment, and neither ends at the threshold of a house of worship. It’s time to alleviate the undue burden on religious non-profits under Obamacare. The people who serve in these ministries have dedicated their lives to living out their religious convictions and they – not the government – are the best guide for what violates those principles.
The proposed plan grants relief for religious organizations and guarantees that they will not be fined for refusing to provide birth control coverage as part of their insurance plans, a guarantee which Rep. Hartzler found very comforting:
Religious charities like the Little Sisters of the Poor, faith-based universities, family-owned businesses, and individuals with moral objections will now be able to provide employees with health care policies consistent with their conscience and the organizations’ mission. The previous administration’s heavy-handed approach went out of its way to force a mandate that violates the faith and ethical sensibilities of the American public. This action strikes a balance between federal interests and core First Amendment principles–a far cry from threatening the Little Sisters of the Poor with crippling fines for practicing their faith in everyday life.
And, as Rep. Roby noted, because freedom of religion is a basic principle of our country, Americans have a responsibility to fight to protect it.
No organization should be forced to offer abortion-related services in violation of their religious convictions. The Department of Health and Human Services’ draft rule halting this Obama-era coercion rightfully defends religious freedom. This is a principal our country was founded upon, and it is our responsibility to protect it.
Finally, also mentioning how fundamental the right to religious freedom is, Rep. Walorski commended President Trump for his plan.
I applaud the Trump administration’s commitment to safeguarding conscience rights and ensuring private organizations and businesses aren’t forced to violate their religious beliefs due to government mandates.
Whether or not these congresswomen think contraception is morally acceptable is beyond the point. Their goal is not to outlaw contraception or even to reduce women’s access to it. All they are arguing is that those who have a religious objection to the use of contraceptives should not be forced to violate those beliefs and pay for birth control.
This is not about telling a woman what she can or cannot do with her body. It is about tolerance for the deeply held religious beliefs of millions of Americans. These congresswomen realize the importance of tolerating expression of religious beliefs. Those from the opposition party — which supposedly preaches tolerance — should have no reason to disagree.