January 23, 2012

Obama Administration Disregards
Freedom of Religion & Right of Conscience

William A. Estrada, Esq.
Director of Federal Relations

On Friday, January 20, the Obama Administration issued final rules confirming what many had feared: all employers—including religious organizations—would be required to pay for contraceptives, including abortion-inducing drugs like Ella and Plan B. This applies even if an employer has strongly held religious or conscientious beliefs against offering these types of drugs to employees. This new federal mandate applies to all health plans, even private ones, even if no federal money is involved. The one consolation for opponents of this new federal mandate is that it will not take effect for certain nonprofit organizations until August 1, 2013.

Home School Legal Defense Association strongly opposes this new federal mandate. We believe that it guts the religious freedom and respect for the rights of conscience upon which our nation was founded. The Pilgrims fled to America because King James refused to accept their religious objections to the teachings and mandates of the Church of England. Today, our nation is going in the direction of King James of England.

HSLDA is considering our options for continuing this fight. Additionally, the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty is representing two religious colleges which are suing the federal government. This federal mandate was a direct result of the health care legislation that was signed into law in the spring of 2010.

Action Requested

We encourage you to contact your U.S. representative and two U.S. senators and urge them to oppose this new federal mandate. You may find the contact information for your members of congress by using HSLDA’s Legislative Toolbox.

Senators should be encouraged to support S. 1467 sponsored by Senator Roy Blunt (MO), which would eliminate this new federal mandate. Representatives should be encouraged to support H.R. 1179 sponsored by Representative Jeff Fortenberry (NE), which is a similar bill in the House of Representatives.

 Other Resources

Institutional Religious Freedom Alliance: “Obama Admin: No Religious Accommodation on Birth Control Mandate”

HSLDA Update: “Comment Period on Conscience Regulations Ends September 30”

HSLDA: S. 1467—Respect for Rights of Conscience Act of 2011