Background: In January of 2012, the Department of Health & Human services issued a mandate under ObamaCare requiring all employer health plans to provide FREE abortion drugs, contraceptives & sterilizations, regardless of any ethical, moral, or religious concerns from the employer.
The HHS Mandate has a few religious exemptions, including some organizations whose plans are grandfathered. The government has exempted over 190 million health care participants and beneficiaries; however, many ministries of institutions like Catholic schools, hospitals, and charities who educate, care for the sick, & feed the hungry, are not “religious” enough to qualify for the Mandate’s “Religious Exemption.”
Though these faith-based organizations are not exempt, according to this statement, they have until August of 2013 to comply. For secular businesses, the HHS Mandate took effect yesterday, August 1, 2012.
This week, the thread of religious liberty that was woven into the fabric of our nation has begun to unravel. Not because it was antiquated or futile, but because the Obama Administration has snipped, prodded, and almost destroyed. Through the abhorrent rule promulgated by the Obama Regime as the HHS mandate, the attack on religious liberty is in full swing as hundreds of thousands of Americans are forced to comply with regulations that deny them their deeply-held moral and religious convictions.
Though our future looks bleak, especially in light of the recent Supreme Court decision, a U.S. District Court in Colorado has offered Americans a glimmer of hope through their issuance of a Preliminary Injunction in a case involving Hercules Industries, Inc., a privately owned HVAC manufacturer and distributor in Colorado.
Hercules is a for-profit, secular employer, and the owners, the Newlands, adhere to the Catholic denomination of the Christian faith. Subject to the August 1 date, they faced forfeiting their conscience or subjecting themselves to crippling fines. Andy Newland, Vice President of Hercules, said, “We never imagined the federal government would order our family business to provide insurance for drugs we object to covering… [The Mandate] seems so contradictory to [our Founders’] intention that Americans be free to live out their beliefs in a country created for freedom from religious persecution.”
Hercules even amended the articles of their corporation stating that its primary purposes are to be achieved by “following appropriate religious, ethical, or moral standards,” and allowing its Board of Directors to prioritize those “religious, ethical or moral standards” at the expense of profitability. Even then, they did not fall under the government-defined criteria.
In Newland vs. Sebilius, the Government argued that the Newlands forfeited their Constitutional rights to conscience when they started their family business. However, the court did not accept this repugnant argument, and instead held that the government failed to show how exempting the Newlands would prevent their objective of providing “health care,” and that preventing the government from enforcing its regulation “pales in comparison to the possible infringement upon [Hercules’] constitutional and statutory rights.”
Shockingly, yesterday, on the very day that the U.S. government robbed millions of Americans of their right of conscience, the State Department issued their annual International Religious Freedom Report for 2011 declaring that, “too many people live under governments that abuse or restrict freedom of religion.”
Should the United States be listed in this report?
Here are links to more information about the Mandate: