Rationing our Rights
They said it would never lead to rationing. But rationing is already here. Under the latest assault by the Obama administration, they are rationing our rights. Tens of millions of Catholics -- and tens of millions of the rest of us -- are having our religious liberty crushed by the latest health care mandate from HHS.
The legislation that President Obama signed with a flourish in 2010 was supported by not a single Republican. The election of 2010 resulted in a massive electoral "shellacking" -- the president's own word -- that cost the Democrats their majority in the House and serious losses in thousands of state legislative contests. Ignoring all that, they advance.
The National Archives saluted the Fourth of July in 2010 with a breathless announcement. Just four months after Vice President Joe Biden hailed the signing of historic health care legislation as a "big [expletive deleted] deal," the folks at the Archives told us that they had discovered a previously unnoticed correction in an early Thomas Jefferson draft of the Declaration of Independence. Young Mr. Jefferson had written the word "Subjects." Then he struck that word and penned the word "Citizens."
The National Archives informed us meaningfully that this was the first time in American history that we were so called -- Citizens. Will future archivists be able to pinpoint the signing of ObamaCare as that moment in time when we became Subjects once again?
What else can we be but Subjects if we have to go hat in hand to HHS Sec. Kathleen Sebelius for a waiver from ObamaCare? Thousands of waivers have been granted. But not to the Catholic bishops. Not to Southern Baptists, Evangelicals, Orthodox Jews, or Missouri Synod Lutherans. We don't qualify for waivers. You have to be a big union or a crony capitalist to qualify for waivers from this administration.
Do you recall: "If you like your current health care coverage, you can keep it"? President Obama cooed soothingly. Eighty-five percent of us did like the health care we had before ObamaCare was thrust upon us. Now, if we keep our current plans, they will be unrecognizable. It's like Henry Ford said: you can have any color Model T you want so long as it's black.
This HHS health care mandate is the gravest assault on religious liberty in American history. We must legislate against it. We must sue in federal court. We must line up behind the twenty-six states that are already challenging ObamaCare in federal court.
Those states -- and literally hundreds of "friends of the court" who have submitted briefs against this unconstitutional and unconscionable bill -- make the powerful point that when King George III and the British Parliament laid a tax on tea, even they would not have presumed to make us buy the tea.
With this latest Sebelius diktat, we are being forced to drink the tea. The HHS mandate will force us to violate our consciences and provide drugs that can cause abortions. To us, killing unborn children at any stage is never health care. It is a grave sin.
So we must strenuously oppose this HHS mandate. But we cannot ignore the storm warnings. This mandate does not include RU-486, the lethal drug that causes later abortions than those that can be caused by ella and Plan B. These are included. Why does this administration exempt RU-486 and all surgical abortions?
The logic of their position is this: abortion is a fundamental right; abortion is a legitimate means of family planning; abortion should be spread around the world by UNFPA and Planned Parenthood and funded by American taxpayers.
But they have not included such later lethal drugs and such killing procedures in their entering bid. Why not?
Abraham Lincoln spoke out most eloquently, and not just about the terrible 1857 Dred Scott ruling of the U.S. Supreme Court. He also showed where it would lead. In his justly famous "House Divided" speech of 1858, Lincoln said:
If we could first know where we are, and whither we are tending, we could then better judge what to do, and how to do it.
He showed with relentless logic that the principle that underlay that infamous court ruling was that slaves were property, that their owners could take them into the territories, and Congress had no power to prevent that. But if slaves are property and only property, then how can an owner be prevented from taking his "property" -- his slaves -- into the free states? Lincoln showed that we were just one court ruling away from abolishing all the free states. Logically, we would become all slave or all free. We could not "tend" toward both eventualities.
The Obama administration today tells us we must provide drugs that can cause abortions.
Tomorrow, they will tell us we must provide the abortions. The logic is inescapable.
Against what they do today, we must resist. Against what they threaten to do to us tomorrow, we must resist, as well. If they do these things in the green wood, what will they do in the dry?
Ken Blackwell and Bob Morrison are senior fellows at the Family Research Council in Washington, D.C.