Obama’s Abortion Pill Mandate Sham Is No “Accommodation”

 

shutterstock_133423673-e1444998785546Several religious non-profit organizations — including Christian colleges, the Little Sisters of the Poor, and Priests for Life — filed their opening brief Monday with the US Supreme Court in a highly-anticipated challenge to the Obama administration’s abortion-pill mandate and the sham “accommodation” it offers religious non-profits.

The Department of Health and Human Services mandate forces employers, regardless of their religious or moral convictions, to provide abortion-inducing drugs, sterilization, and contraception through their health plans under threat of heavy penalties. Alliance Defending Freedom clients Geneva College in Pennsylvania and the four universities in Oklahoma – Southern Nazarene University, Oklahoma Wesleyan University, Oklahoma Baptist University, and Mid-America Christian University – specifically object to providing abortifacients.

So what distinguishes this case from the Hobby Lobby/Conestoga Wood Specialties victory against the abortion-pill mandate at the Supreme Court in 2014?

While that case addressed the mandate as it applies to for-profit family-run businesses, this case pertains to the mandate as applied to non-profit organizations. SCOTUS will hear it in the spring and decide by the end of the term in June.

Although the administration argues that executing and submitting a so-called “accommodation” form insulates religious nonprofits from providing abortifacients, that is not the case.

The form directly involves the Christian colleges and other religious groups in providing abortifacients in multiple ways by, for example, (1) altering their health plans to allow for the provision of such drugs or devices, (2) requiring them to notify or identify to the government who their insurers or third-party administrator (TPA) are so that they can provide the drugs or devices on the colleges’ behalf, (3) officially authorizing their TPA as a plan and claims administrator solely for the purpose of providing the items, and (4) requiring them to identify and contract with a TPA that is willing to provide the drugs and devices to which they religiously object.

Do I really need to tell anyone that it’s best not to believe Linda Greenhouse about what’s at stake in this case? Her take — fairly representative of the leftist consensus on this — is that stopping the government from forcing elderly nuns and a pro-life group of Catholic priests to provide contraception and abortion-inducing drugs would “carve a gaping hole in the fabric of civil society.” This claim is hysterical, either way you think about that word, and dishonest. Interesting that the headline this most recent “nuns must provide IUDs or we’ve lost the republic” piece would include the phrase “moment of truth.” Greenhouse’s earlier column on these cases didn’t even take a moment to tell the truth.

Ramesh Ponnuru lays it out:

Greenhouse simply misstates what the administration is doing. She writes:

There is no chance — none — that the Little Sisters will ever have to have anything whatsoever to do with birth control. All the government is asking the order to do is sign the standard one-page form that sets the exemption machinery in motion. Here is the language:

“I certify that, on account, of religious objections, the organization opposes providing coverage for some or all of any contraceptive services that would otherwise be required to be covered; the organization is organized and operates as a nonprofit entity; and the organization holds itself out as a religious organization.”

That’s it. There is no government investigation of the merits of the religious claim — or of the unfounded belief that some of the contraceptives to which the nuns object can actually terminate what the medical profession regards as an existing pregnancy.

No, that is not “it.” The form has two pages, not one, and it’s the language on the other page to which the nuns object. Page 2 declares that the form is the “instrument” that triggers the requirement that a third-party administrator provide contraceptive coverage.

So either the writer didn’t know about the second page, which would disqualify her opinion, or she doesn’t want her readers to know that, like her fellow travelers, she believes that people should be bullied by the government to participate in morally-offensive acts or be destroyed by said government. “Forgetting to mention” the second page, which triggers complicity, just might have been what “had to be done” to make the naked coercion a little warmer and fuzzier.

As Monday’s brief explains, the government’s coercion of the non-profits can be explained only by its refusal to credit their sincere religious beliefs that the role the government wants them to play would be a sin. The government is certainly free to disagree with that belief, but it is not free to disregard it. Yet that is precisely what its regulatory scheme does – and precisely what RFRA [the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act] forbids.”

Hopefully the Supreme Court will “carve a gaping hole” in the government’s argument and leave the Little Sisters of the Poor, Priests for Life, and Christian colleges alone to accomplish their religiously-inspired missions without being forced to be the state’s abortion-drug mules.

There are 11 comments.

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  1. Merina Smith Member
    Merina Smith
    @MerinaSmith

    Obviously the mandate interferes with the free exercise of the people you mention, but from Greenhouse’s perspective, not complying interferes with the free exercise of her religion, a founding principle of which is that no one can object to or interfere in any way with the chief commandment of leftism:  Everyone must be free to participate in consensual sex of any sort with no consequences.  (Never mind that this is the “freedom” that is gobbling up all our other freedoms.)

    Those who regard sex in any other way must be punished.

    • #1
  2. Greg Scott Contributor
    Greg Scott
    @GregScott

    Merina Smith: Everyone must be free to participate in consensual sex of any sort with no consequences. (Never mind that this is the “freedom” that is gobbling up all our other freedoms.)

    Right. No consequences for the one who desires to participate, but severe consequences for those who don’t want to be dragged along.

    • #2
  3. Scott Wilmot Member
    Scott Wilmot
    @ScottWilmot

    Greg Scott: Hopefully the Supreme Court will “carve a gaping hole” in the government’s argument and leave the Little Sisters of the Poor, Priests for Life, and Christian colleges alone to accomplish their religiously-inspired missions without being forced to be the state’s abortion-drug mules.

    Amen. We need to pray for this.

    We won’t see Pres__ent Obama shedding any tears for the 3000 babies slaughtered every day in this country.

    • #3
  4. Scott Wilmot Member
    Scott Wilmot
    @ScottWilmot

    Merina Smith: a founding principle of which is that no one can object to or interfere in any way with the chief commandment of leftism: Everyone must be free to participate in consensual sex of any sort with no consequences. (Never mind that this is the “freedom” that is gobbling up all our other freedoms.) Those who regard sex in any other way must be punished.

    The left has no clue what freedom is – I always fall back to St. Pope John Paul II who said freedom consists not in doing what we like, but in having the right to do what we ought. The left sees freedom as license to do what they like and want

    Greg Scott: Right. No consequences for the one who desires to participate, but severe consequences for those who don’t want to be dragged along.

    Very well said.
    .

    • #4
  5. Front Seat Cat Member
    Front Seat Cat
    @FrontSeatCat

    It’s interesting that within traditional religions, including Christianity, Judaism, and Islam, abortion is frowned upon, even the chemically induced. Backing people into a corner lest they cooperate, by paying a hefty penalty is not “freedom of (pro) choice”, the term used by progressives.  The Catholic Church will not compromise, and they run a lot of top notch hospitals and clinics across this country. It’s going to get ugly.

    Speaking of healthcare, we signed up for a plan “we could afford”, but it is a private plan offered by United Healthcare. It is not seen as legitimate by Obamacare because it supposedly doesn’t cover mental health or pregnancy?  We don’t need either, but I was told we will have to pay the penalty at tax time, even though we have coverage, because it’s looked at as though we have NO coverage?!

    The health exchange clerk told us it is cheaper to do that than pay more for healthcare – the monthly amounts offered were ridiculous for our age group (50’s)!   Our deductibles are $5000 per person! We did not qualify for Obamacare – we make combined under $75K – how is that possible?

    Our citizens are being forced into corners while the government has found a way to rake in the dough from everyone – it’s truly obscene and there should be a revolt – where do I dump the tea???

    • #5
  6. Scott Wilmot Member
    Scott Wilmot
    @ScottWilmot

    Bruce Frohnen at The Imaginative Conservative asks if Christianity has become a religion of cowards.

    As Fr. Z says:

    Our Lord promised that the Church would endure to the end and that Hell would not prevail.

    He didn’t promise that Hell wouldn’t prevail in these United States.

    I applaud your work Greg – you are one of those speaking out and speaking up – thanks.

    • #6
  7. The Question Member
    The Question
    @TheQuestion

    Merina Smith: Those who regard sex in any other way must be punished.

    I think that’s it exactly.  This is about enforcing an official belief system.

    • #7
  8. Doug Watt Moderator
    Doug Watt
    @DougWatt

    There is freedom of conscience and then there is freedom from conscience. No one wants to travel the road to hell alone. Those on that road are not content with fellow travelers that have joined the journey of their own free will, everyone must join.

    They are not content to wait for their own deaths to enter Hell they must establish it now and enjoy it while they’re still here on this earth.

    • #8
  9. John Seymour Member
    John Seymour
    @

    Front Seat Cat: Our citizens are being forced into corners while the government has found a way to rake in the dough from everyone – it’s truly obscene and there should be a revolt – where do I dump the tea???

    Oregon, I think.  But bring your long arm.

    • #9
  10. Howard Slugh Member
    Howard Slugh
    @HowardSlugh

    I filed an amicus brief on behalf of Orthodox Jewish rabbis in support of the petitioners in this case. My brief can be found at the following link.

    http://www.becketfund.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/Orthodox-Jewish-Rabbis-Amicus-for-LSP.pdf

    • #10
  11. Greg Scott Contributor
    Greg Scott
    @GregScott

    Howard Slugh: I filed an amicus brief on behalf of Orthodox Jewish rabbis in support of the petitioners in this case. My brief can be found at the following link.

    And an excellent brief it is! Thanks Howard!

    • #11

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