'Pro-Choice' Obama Forces Religious Institutions to Pay for Abortion Drugs

President Barack Obama, a lifelong champion of abortion, is hell-bent on forcing religious institutions to pay for birth control and abortion drugs coverage for their employees.  New regulations implemented by the Obama administration mandate that sterilization options, abortifacients (abortion drugs), and contraception services must be included in virtually all health plans, including those offered by Christian charities, church-based hospitals, Christian universities, and other faith-based social services agencies.  Obama now demands that his anti-life and pro-abortion agenda be supported not only by our tax dollars, but also by the donations of Christians who consider the destruction of human life morally abhorrent and an abomination.  Abortion is held in such high regard by President Obama that he is willing to violate the First-Amendment religious rights of millions of Americans in order to impose and fund his agenda.

On January 20, 2012, the Health and Human Services (HHS) department, under the direction and influence of the Obama administration, issued a final rule that requires that health insurance plans, including those of religious institutions, "cover preventive services for women including recommended contraceptive services without charging a co-pay, co-insurance or a deductible." HHS's rule further states that plans must cover the "full range of the Institute of Medicine's recommended preventive services, including all FDA-approved forms of contraception."  The FDA's list of approved methods of contraception includes abortifacients, abortion drugs prescribed to kill life in the womb after conception.

Pro-Abortion Groups Cheer and Praise Obama

Confirmation of the wrongness and immorality of this mandate came directly from the head of NARAL, a militantly pro-abortion organization.  Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL, praised the Obama administration for its courage and steadfast support of this government policy.  "The administration stood firm against intensive lobbying efforts from anti-birth-control organizations trying to expand the refusal option even further to allow organizations and corporations to deny their employees contraceptive coverage," she said.  "As a result, millions will get access to contraception-and they will not have to ask their bosses for permission."

On its website, NARAL proudly touts its intense pro-abortion lobbying efforts.  "NARAL Pro-Choice America activists sent 135,543 messages to the Obama administration calling on the White House to stand strong in support of no-cost coverage of contraception. This latest activism adds to the list of actions it has taken to make no-cost birth control a reality for all American women."  Clearly, Obama listened and agrees with their stance.  As a result, not only do his rules force faith-based organizations to cover these abortion services, but these organizations must also offer said coverage for free, with support from donations and dues from their members, whose religious beliefs and views emphatically oppose abortion.

Catholic Organizations Condemn the Mandate

Reaction from the Catholic Church, its bishops, several Catholic universities, and many other Catholic leaders has been swift and categorical.

Cardinal-designate Timothy M. Dolan, archbishop of New York and president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, sharply criticized the president's decision and denounced the rule as unconscionable.  "Never before has the federal government forced individuals and organizations to go out into the marketplace and buy a product that violates their conscience. This shouldn't happen in a land where free exercise of religion ranks first in the Bill of Rights," Cardinal-designate Dolan said.  "The government should not force Americans to act as if pregnancy is a disease to be prevented at all costs."

"This is nothing less than a direct attack on religion and First Amendment rights," said Franciscan Sister Jane Marie Klein, chairperson of the board at Franciscan Alliance, Inc., a system of thirteen Catholic hospitals.  "I have hundreds of employees who will be upset and confused by this edict. I cannot understand it at all."

Patrick J. Reilly, President of The Cardinal Newman Society, a Catholic university watchdog group, denounced the "cult of choice" agenda of the Obama administration.  "The White House has sold the First Amendment for a few pennies of political support from the ACLU and the abortion lobby," he said.

Despite the strong denouncements and intense opposition from Catholic groups, Obama agreed to delay this mandate only until 2013.  This transparent "compromise" is obviously intended to help his re-election efforts and deflect the full effect of the controversy until after the November 2012 elections.  Luckily, these political games have little traction with the Catholic Church.  "In effect, the president is saying we have a year to figure out how to violate our consciences," said Cardinal-designate Timothy M. Dolan.  "The Obama administration has now drawn an unprecedented line in the sand.  The Catholic bishops are committed to working with our fellow Americans to reform the law and change this unjust regulation."

Archbishop Dolan and the Catholic Church understand the seriousness and severity of this latest attack on all faith-based organizations.  Obama's mandate sets a dangerous precedent for our democracy and undermines our Constitution.  It is a wholesale assault on the specific protections of religious liberties afforded to all Americans by the First Amendment: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof."  If this abomination is allowed to stand, then the religious liberties of all Americans -- not just Christians and Catholics -- will be endangered.  Such an unconstitutional and tyrannical policy must be opposed and defeated if liberty is to survive in the "land of the free and home of the brave."  Silence is not an option, now more than ever.

Chris Banescu is an attorney, entrepreneur, and university professor.  He regularly blogs at www.chrisbanescu.com and www.orthodoxnet.com/blog.

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