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Factsheet #103 on Health Care

February 17, 2012

Obamacare Anti-Conscience Mandate: An Assault on the Constitution

Trampling Religious Liberty

  • The Anti-Conscience Mandate: Under Obamacare, all insurance plans must cover, at no charge, abortion-inducing drugs, contraceptives, sterilization, and patient education and counseling for women of reproductive age. Religious employers such as Catholic hospitals, Christian schools, and faith-based pregnancy care centers will have to provide and pay for such coverage for their employees regardless of their religious beliefs. In what some have called the narrowest religious exemption in federal law to date, only houses of worship are exempted.
  • The Controversial Mandate Remains Unchanged: President Obama’s February 10 press conference announcing an “accommodation” did not change actual policy. In fact, the final rule filed later that day is exactly the same as the controversial version that created the controversy in the first place. That version of the rule now has the force of law. Everything else, including the President’s proposed changes, is only a promise.
  • Obama’s “Accommodation” Is Unworkable: Even if the Administration were to move forward in the future with new rule-making to accomplish what the President outlined on February 10, it would not solve religious liberty problems, nor is it clear whether the policy would actually work for many self-insured groups and others.
  • Adding Insult to Injury: The Administration also published guidance on February 10 giving one year for religious groups to “adapt” to the rule that runs counter to their religious beliefs.

Just the Beginning of Obamacare’s Violations of Liberty

  • We The People Conscience Protections for All: Religiously affiliated groups are not the only ones who may have objections to this mandate. Other employers, not to mention individuals, with objections to this mandate will not be able to purchase insurance that matches their convictions.
  • Warning Signs: This is only the beginning of the problems that Americans will continue to see as the Obamacare “essential benefits” package takes shape. The anti-conscience mandate is a warning sign for us all of how one-size-fits-all health care requirements will trample on religious liberty as well as individual liberty.
  • Centralization of Health Care Incompatible with Freedom: The moral compass for some of our most intimate life decisions is now in the hands of bureaucrats. Centralization of health care decisions is incompatible with the liberty that Americans have cherished since our founding.

Restoring All Americans’ Freedom of Conscience in Health Care

  • Protect Religious Liberty: Protections like those offered in the bipartisan-sponsored Respect for the Rights of Conscience Act of 2011 are important steps to protect the religious liberty of groups that provide vital services across this land.
  • Repeal Obamacare: Obamacare’s anti-conscience mandate for preventive services is a matter of concern for institutions and individuals, religious liberty specifically, and liberty generally. To protect all Americans’ religious liberty, and freedom generally, Obamacare must be repealed.

For more information, please visit www.heritage.org.

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