Final Day to Comment on HHS Rule
As many of you know, today (April 8) is the final day to submit comments to the federal government on the Obama Administration’s most recent inadequate attempt to accommodate the objections of opponents of ObamaCare’s noxious contraception mandate.
If you have not submitted comments yet, please consider doing so. It is not complicated. I can walk you through the process.
Your comments will stand as a record against the unprecedented violation of conscience rammed through by this illiberal administration.
Allow me to explain briefly the changes that were proposed in January 2013 by the Obama administration and why they are inadequate.
Two principal changes expand the number of organizations eligible for an exemption under the mandate:
1. Amended definition of “religious employer” (“houses of worship”)
The old version exempted “religious employers” from the contraception mandate if four conditions applied: 1) the institution has the inculcation of religious values as it purpose; 2) it primarily employs persons who share its religious beliefs; 3) it primarily serves persons who share its religious beliefs; and 4) it must be designated as a religious nonprofit organization by the IRS.
The new version amends the definition of “religious employer” by eliminating the first three conditions. Now an organization must only be designated as a religious non-profit employer to qualify for the exemption.
2. “Accommodation” for other eligible organizations
Also exempted are organizations that meet the following conditions: 1) they oppose providing the objectionable services on religious grounds; 2) they are organized and operated as nonprofit entities; 3) they hold themselves out as religious organizations; and 4) they “self-certify” that they satisfy the first three criteria.
Still Gravely Inadequate
Although some institutions will qualify for an exemption under the new rule that did not qualify under the old rule, the following organizations and people are still not protected under the new rule:
1. Non-profit organizations that do not “self-certify” as religious
There are literally tens of thousands of non-profit charities and organizations that are non-religious: they provide food, serve the poor, help prisoners, provide legal services, assist with employment, housing, disaster relief, recreation, sporting services, youth development and so on.
– None of these would qualify for an exemption.
2. Most all other for-profit businesses in the country!
3. Individuals who purchase insurance under these plans
Further, the new rule does not protect those who secure insurance under these plans, all of whom will be forced to carry insurance for sterilizations, contraception and abortion drugs, whether or not they judge the services to be immoral.
In short, the new proposed rule does not protect the vast majority of health plans and individuals in the U.S. from coercion under the contraception mandate.
PLEASE ENTER FORMAL COMMENTS
Go to the heading that reads: Coverage of Certain Preventive Services under Affordable Care Act
Click the box
Comment Now and enter your contact information and comments.
For those who are uncertain of what to say, I have copied below the comments that I entered last week. Feel free to cut and paste them into the comment box. Or better still, revise them so they express some of your own words and sentiments.
Thanks for your concern,
The proposed rule falls short of protecting the consciences of large numbers of Americans.
Only those who fall under the narrow categories of “houses of worship” and “non-profit religious organizations” would be protected.
This does not include non-profit non-religiously specified organization and all private businesses run by persons who believe the mandated services are immoral; in short, it does not protect the vast majority of private health plans in the U.S.
Further, it does not protect those who secure insurance under these plans, all of whom will be forced to carry insurance for these services, whether or not they judge the services to be immoral.
Why should the Obama administration take this objection seriously? Why is it wrong to force citizens to do things they judge to be immoral? Why not coerce the consciences of those who disagree with us, as the Obama mandate will do?
The simple reason is that a person’s conscience judgment is their own last and best conclusion about what’s right and wrong. Although the judgment has a subjective dimension insofar as it belongs to an individual, the content of the judgment insofar as the person is concerned is not subjective; it is their conclusion about reality. Conscience does not merely say: “I feel this is wrong.” It asserts rather that “this is wrong”. An objection of conscience is one’s opposition to participating in what one believes/judges/concludes is wrong. To violate that judgment means to violate one’s own moral self-assessment. When I freely and knowingly do what I believe to be immoral, I become in the most profound sense (i.e., in my own judgment) an evil-doer.
Those who impose this upon another often think they’re doing good, because they believe differently on the matter. But if they force others to do what the others believe to be evil, they become, as history shows, tyrants.
Please rescind these odious rules.