Tuesday, July 31, 2012
Billy Long: Why is media ignoring Obamacare's threat to religious freedom?
One aspect of Obamacare that seems to be lost in the media coverage is the threat to religious liberty. Freedom of religion is a fundamental right protected by the Constitution’s First Amendment.
Like many Americans, I was shocked to learn earlier this year that President Obama’s Department of Health and Human Services issued a new rule forcing religious institutions to violate their sacred beliefs on the dignity of human life.
This rule requires individual and group health plans to cover free sterilization and all contraceptives approved by the Food and Drug Administration. The rule also narrowly defined religious institutions. Since religiously affiliated hospitals, universities and charities were not included in the rule’s narrow exemption, the Obama administration is now on the record as requiring these religiously affiliated organizations to cover sterilization procedures and contraception, including the abortion pill, which violates their sacred beliefs on life.
I am a proud supporter of H.R. 3982, the Religious Liberty Protection Act, which would prohibit the department from forcing employers with religious objections to provide coverage of sterilization or contraceptive services.
Obamacare is wrong for our country for many reasons, but a health care reform effort should not violate religious freedom and force religious groups and entities to participate in practices that go against their religious doctrines.