‘Phony compromise’: conservative, pro-life leaders slam HHS mandate revisions as ‘unacceptable’
Updated Feb 1, 2013 at 1:27 pm EST.
WASHINGTON, D.C., February 1, 2013, (LifeSiteNews.com) – If the Obama administration hoped that the battle over the HHS birth control mandate would end with the release of today’s “revised” regulations, it was wrong.
Legal analysts with religious organizations are still working through the revised regulations, which purport to offer a broader opt-out for religious employers, to determine whether the protections offered are meaningful, or - as they determined with the administration's previous "accomodation" - merely an accounting gimmick.
But no matter what protections might be afforded to religious employers, what remains certain is that non-religious non-profits and for-profit businesses - such as Hobby Lobby - will not fall under the umbrella of protection.
Already conservative organizations are overwhelmingly slamming the revisions as insufficient.
“Today’s proposed rule does nothing to protect the religious liberty of millions of Americans," said Kyle Duncan, General Counsel for The Becket Fund, a conservative legal organization that is representing several groups in the lawsuits against the mandate, including Hobby Lobby.
"The rights of family businesses like Hobby Lobby are still being violated," said Duncan, adding that lawyers with his group are still studying what effect the rules will have for other non-profits such as Ave Maria University and EWTN.
“Once again, President Obama’s so-called ‘compromise’ is unacceptable – religious and moral freedom is not up for negotiation,” said Susan B. Anthony List (SBA List) President Marjorie Dannenfelser.
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“There must be no religious ‘test’ by the government as to who, and what type of entities, are entitled to a conscience. We demand respect for non-religious entities such as the Susan B. Anthony List that recognize the taking of human life is the antithesis of health care," she said.
According to Dannenfelser, “The only acceptable outcome is the complete repeal of the HHS mandate and the restoration of a thriving marketplace where Americans can choose health care coverage consistent with their beliefs.”
Fr. Frank Pavone of Priests for Life agreed.
“We at Priests for Life remind the administration that religious liberty does not just belong to religious groups and individuals,” said Fr. Pavone. “It belongs to all Americans. Objections to contraceptives and abortion-inducing drugs aren't based just on dogmas and Bibles, but on adverse health consequences and the fact that human beings, no matter how small, should not be killed."
"We see only one acceptable change regarding the mandate: rescind it completely," he said.
Students for Life of America also shared the concerns of the other two organizations, sending out a tweet saying: “This #HHSMandate ‘opt-out’ is not an opt-out. Orgs and employers like SFLA are still being forced to provide abortion pills to employees.”
“With another phony compromise, the Obama Administration continues to insult the intelligence of the American people and trample our Constitutionally-guaranteed rights,” said AUL’s President and CEO Dr. Charmaine Yoest, as the Health and Human Services Department released additional regulations for Obamacare.
"Our Freedom of Conscience, which is guaranteed by the First Amendment has been violated by Obamacare and these new regulations do not resolve the offense.”
"The regulation is clear that the Obama Administration’s intent is to limit religious liberty to houses of worship," said Yoest. "Meanwhile Christian universities, for-profit businesses – like the Bible publisher Tyndale and Hobby Lobby – or individuals are still forced to subsidize Big Abortion."
Rev. Patrick J. Mahoney, Director of the Christian Defense Coalition, also condmned the revision, saying it, "fails completely in protecting religious freedom for all Americans.
"This narrow policy revision would only protect a small segment of organizations purchasing health care and would still leave scores of groups and individuals at risk in having their religious freedoms and beliefs trampled and crushed," said Mahoney.
"It continues to show that this administration is clueless when it comes to understanding the First Amendment with respect to religious freedom for all Americans and ensuring that everyone is protected from having their core beliefs and conscience trampled by the government."
Mahoney concluded: "Our Founding Fathers understood that religious liberty and free speech should extend to everyone, not just certain groups deemed acceptable by the President and his administration."