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Unacceptable Letter

Unacceptable Letter

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Published by Peter Robinson
Open letter opposing Obama admin's contraceptive regs
Open letter opposing Obama admin's contraceptive regs

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Published by: Peter Robinson on Feb 11, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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07/04/2013

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Unacceptable
Today the Obama administration has offered what it has styled as an “accommodation” for religious institutions in the dispute over the HHS mandate for coverage (without cost sharing) of abortion-inducing drugs, sterilization, and contraception. The administration will now requirethat all insurance plans cover (“cost free”) these same products and services. Once a religiously-affiliated (or believing individual) employer purchases insurance (as it must, by law), theinsurance company will then contact the insured employees to advise them that the terms of the policy include coverage for these objectionable things.This so-called “accommodation” changes nothing of moral substance and fails to remove theassault on religious liberty and the rights of conscience which gave rise to the controversy. It iscertainly no compromise. The reason for the original bipartisan uproar was the administration’sinsistence that religious employers, be they institutions or individuals, provide insurance thatcovered services they regard as gravely immoral and unjust. Under the new rule, the governmentstill coerces religious institutions and individuals to purchase insurance policies that include thevery same services.It is no answer to respond that the religious employers are not “paying” for this aspect of theinsurance coverage. For one thing, it is unrealistic to suggest that insurance companies will not pass the costs of these additional services on to the purchasers. More importantly, abortion-drugs, sterilizations, and contraceptives are a necessary feature of the policy purchased by thereligious institution or believing individual. They will only be made available to those who areinsured under such policy,
by virtue of the terms of the policy
.It is morally obtuse for the administration to suggest (as it does) that this is a meaningfulaccommodation of religious liberty because the insurance company will be the one to inform theemployee that she is entitled to the embryo-destroying “five day after pill” pursuant to theinsurance contract purchased by the religious employer. It does not matter 
who
explains theterms of the policy purchased by the religiously affiliated or observant employer. What mattersis what services the policy covers.The simple fact is that the Obama administration is compelling religious people and institutionswho are employers to purchase a health insurance contract that provides abortion-inducing drugs,
 
contraception, and sterilization. This is a grave violation of religious freedom and cannot stand.It is an insult to the intelligence of Catholics, Protestants, Eastern Orthodox Christians, Jews,Muslims, and other people of faith and conscience to imagine that they will accept as assault ontheir religious liberty if only it is covered up by a cheap accounting trick.Finally, it bears noting that by sustaining the original narrow exemptions for churches,auxiliaries, and religious orders, the administration has effectively admitted that the new policy(like the old one) amounts to a grave infringement on religious liberty. The administration stillfails to understand that institutions that employ and serve others of different or no faith are stillengaged in a religious mission and, as such, enjoy the protections of the First Amendment.Signed:John GarveyPresident, The Catholic University of AmericaMary Ann GlendonLearned Hand Professor of Law, Harvard UniversityRobert P. GeorgeMcCormick Professor of Jurisprudence, Princeton UniversityO. Carter SneadProfessor of Law, University of Notre DameYuval LevinHertog Fellow, Ethics and Public Policy Center  _______________________________________________ Fr. Jonathan MorrisEthics and Religion Analyst, Fox NewsBasilica of St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral, NYCJean Bethke ElshtainLaura Spelman Rockefeller Professor of Social and Political Ethics in the Divinity School,Department of Political Science and the Committee on International Relations, The University of ChicagoTom Farr Director of Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs,Georgetown UniversityRichard W. GarnettAssociate Dean and Professor of Law, University of Notre DamePatrick MacKinley BrennanJohn F. Scarpa Chair in Catholic Legal Studies and Professor of Law, Villanova UniversityGerard V. Bradley
 
Professor of Law, University of Notre DamePaolo CarozzaProfessor of Law and Director, Center for Civil and Human Rights, University of Notre DameGeorge WeigelDistinguished Senior Fellow and William E. Simon Chair in Catholic Studies, Ethics and PublicPolicy Center Gilbert Meilaender Duesenberg Professor in Christian Ethics, Valparaiso UniversityPresident Timothy O’DonnellChristendom CollegeSteven SmithClass of 1975 Endowed Professor of Law, San Diego UniversityStephen SmithProfessor of Law, University of Notre DameMichael Stokes PaulsenDistinguished University Chair & Professor of Law The University of St. ThomasProf. Alan MittlemanProfessor of Modern Jewish ThoughtThe Jewish Theological SeminaryMicah J. WatsonDirector, Center for Politics and Religion and Assistant Professor of Political Science, UnionUniversityHelen AlvareAssociate Professor of Law, George Mason UniversityMichael Moreland,Associate Professor of Law, Villanova UniversityMatthew J. Franck Director, William E. and Carol G. Simon Center on Religion and the Constitution, theWitherspoon InstituteKristina ArriagaExecutive Director The Becket FundChristopher TollefsenProfessor of Philosophy, University of South CarolinaRusty Reno

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