Fmr. Congressman Stupak: Individuals and businesses should be exempt from HHS mandate
MENOMINEE, MICHIGAN, June 27, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) – Former Congressman Bart Stupak, who became infamous for ending his opposition to the president’s health care bill in exchange for an executive order, has filed a pro-life comment opposing the implementation of the bill he supported.
Stupak submitted an eight-page comment to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, saying the HHS mandate should not force religious institutions – or individuals – to violate their consciences.
He counseled that abortion-inducing medications such as Plan B and Ella should “be excluded from the employer mandate, or at least that individuals and organizations, including commercial businesses, with sincere religious objections” be exempted from distributing such drugs – even if they were eventually shown not to act as abortifacients.
The contraception mandate “will set a harmful precedent if, as may be anticipated, government ever considers mandates to fund or facilitate abortions,” he wrote. The mandate “could severely undercut conscience protection.”
The comments, which were co-signed by Democrats for Life of America (DFLA) executive director Kristen Day, said the Obama administration’s “minimal definition of ‘religious employer,’ should be scrapped.” Instead, an organization should be considered a religious institution if it:
(1) is a non-profit religious educational or charitable institution; (2) engages in its charitable or educational activities for bona fide religious purposes or reasons; and (3) holds itself out to the public as a religious organization.
Despite their language, not everyone embraced the comments.
“This letter is just another pathetic attempt by Kristen Day and her collaborators to put some pancake makeup over some of the uglier aspects of ObamaCare,” Douglas Johnson, the legislative director at the National Right to Life Committee, wrote in a statement e-mailed to LifeSiteNews.com.
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Johnson noted the HHS mandate “is based on language in the ObamaCare law itself.”
“The letter asserts that the ObamaCare law preserves the Hyde Amendment, when in fact the ObamaCare contains multiple abortion-expanding provisions that represent a huge break from the principles of the Hyde Amendment,” he added.
Johnson testified before Congress in February 2011 that the president’s health care law would vitiate the Hyde Amendment’s restrictions on abortion funding by creating “self-appropriated” funds.
The last paragraph of Stupak and Day’s letter proposes an alternative plan the Obama administration could use to distribute contraception through state exchanges established by the bill, possibly funded by Title X money.
Stupak rose to national prominence as a pro-life Democrat when he opposed President Obama’s health care bill, offering an amendment to ban all funding for abortion. However, he withdrew his opposition when President Obama agreed to issue an executive order that administration officials dubbed “a signing statement on steroids” and that Planned Parenthood derided as “symbolic.”
“Bart Stupak and Kristin Day may be nearly the last people on Planet Earth who are still pretending that the bogus Obama executive order was anything more than a political scam,” Johnson told LifeSiteNews.
Half of all pro-life Democrats were swept out of Congress in the 2010 landslide Republican victory. “Holding a pro-life stance is toxic in a Democratic primary in most parts of the country,” Matthew Wilson, a professor of political science at Southern Methodist University, told Christianity Today.
The president’s increasing use on religious language and calls from within the Democratic Party to moderate the platform’s full-term support of abortion-on-demand have been dismissed by many as politically motivated.
Dr. Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, told LifeSiteNews earlier this year the reason the Democrats “lost the South is not the civil rights movement; it’s the abortion movement.”