Catherine Briggs

News,

HHS mandate was a ‘double-cross’: former Rep. Stupak

Catherine Briggs

WASHINGTON, DC, March 14, 2014 (LifeSiteNews.com) –The Obama administration’s contraceptive mandate is a “double-cross,” writes the former congressman who was instrumental in the passage of the Affordable Health Care Act in 2010.

Former Rep. Bart Stupak (D-MI) changed the course of the nation’s healthcare history when he infamously voted for the Affordable Healthcare Act. The pro-life Catholic politician had led the effort to remove the bill’s abortion funding provisions, but ultimately relented in exchange for a presidential executive order.

In a column for USA Today, Stupak now claims, however, that the HHS mandate infringes conscience rights and voices his support for the owners of Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood, both of which are fighting the mandate in lawsuits. 

“Today, as a private citizen,” says Stupak, “I'm proud to stand with the Green and Hahn families and their corporations, Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood, in seeking to uphold our most cherished beliefs that we, as American citizens, should not be required to relinquish our conscience and moral convictions in order to implement the Affordable Care Act.”

“During the final debate on the Affordable Care Act,” he continues, “I engaged in a colloquy with Chairman Henry Waxman reaffirming that Americans would not be required to pay for abortions or violate their conscience by participating in or promoting a procedure they find morally objectionable. In response, we received an ironclad commitment that our conscience would remain free and our principles would be honored.”

Originally, Stupak sponsored an amendment included in the Affordable Care Act that safeguarded the current laws against public funding of abortion.  This failed to pass in the Senate.

Stupak’s decision to drop his opposition to the Affordable Care Act in exchange for the executive order incensed both sides of the debate, even prompting the Susan B. Anthony List to revoke its “Defender of Life” award that it was going to bestow upon Stupak. 

In the years since the Affordable Care Act passed, Stupak has expressed his disappointment and confusion over the mandate, saying that he was “perplexed and disappointed, having negotiated the executive order with the president.” 

Soon after the ACA was passed, Stupak declared his belief that certain businesses and individuals should be exempt from the HHS mandate.  However, for many of the bill’s opponents, this distress was too little, too late.

The National Right to Life Committee stated that the executive order meant nothing: “The executive order promised by President Obama was issued for political effect. It changes nothing. It does not correct any of the serious pro-abortion provisions in the bill. The president cannot amend a bill by issuing an order, and the federal courts will enforce what the law says.”

Regardless of how the executive order has been enforced, the truth remains that some businesses are now facing steep fines for not covering services and products they find immoral.

Stupak finished his op-ed by calling on the Supreme Court to acknowledge the balance between affordable healthcare and individual conscience rights.

“We must honor the abortion conscience principle which the Green and Hahn families are fighting to uphold as well as like-minded Americans who wish to continue to provide health care coverage and preventive care for their employees,” he wrote. “The Affordable Care Act struck an important balance between improving health care options and respecting conscience, a moral conscience that no one can violate, not even the federal government through an HHS mandate. I urge the Supreme Court to recognize and uphold this balance.”

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