J. Michael Smith, Esq.

Michael P. Farris, JD, LLM

Comment Period on Conscience Regulations Ends September 30

William A. Estrada, Esq.
HSLDA Federal Relations

September 19, 2011

We have previously let you know about the new mandate from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that will require nearly all health insurance providers to fully cover birth control drugs and abortion-inducing drugs. Coupled with this mandate was a narrow religious exemption that will only cover churches and possibly some sectarian schools and colleges. HSLDA believes this new mandate and narrow religious exemption are terribly dangerous to the right of conscience. You can read more about our concerns in our previous article.

The opportunity to submit your own public comments about this issue will end September 30. We encourage you to read the full proposed religious exemption and to make a public comment.

To make this easier for families, you can also visit FRCAction’s webpage to send a pre-written comment to the Department of Health and Human Services about the abortion drug mandate and narrow religious exemption.

We also encourage you to contact your U.S. representative and two U.S. senators with your concerns about this issue. You may find their contact information online.

You may wonder what this regulation has to do with homeschooling. The answer is that attacks on the right of conscience also threaten the right of parents to direct the education and upbringing of their children. Our nation was founded on a principle of religious liberty and the right of conscience. This new federal mandate will require nearly all employers to fully cover the costs of birth control drugs, as well as abortion-inducing drugs, even if an employer has a conscientious or religious objection to such drugs. A government that can force an employer to violate his or her conscience or religious beliefs could one day force parents to teach their children what the government thinks children need to know, or even to put their children only into a government-approved school.

Liberty is never taken away all at once. It is a gradual, creeping encroachment. That is why it is crucial that all freedom-loving Americans stand together to oppose this mandate and narrow religious exemption.

If you have additional questions about this issue, please feel free to contact HSLDA’s federal relations department at federalrelations@hslda.org or (540) 338-5600.