Pro-Life Democrats Expect Obama Administration to Issue Final Rule That Will Allow Religious Exemption
Common Sense Will Prevail
Congressman Bart Stupak and Congresswoman Kathy Dahlkemper are available for comment
WASHINGTON, Nov. 21, 2011 /Christian Newswire
/ -- The Obama Administration will announce shortly the final rule for the contraception mandate of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). Pro-Life Democrats are expecting a religious exemption that is consistent with longstanding public policy and current law.
"The Administration is already unfairly under attack by Catholic conservatives who are using the proposed final rule to spread anti-Obama sentiment to lay Catholics," said Kristen Day, Executive Director of Democrats for Life. "The Administration has no intention of forcing Catholic institutions to provide insurance coverage for services that are directly in opposition to their moral beliefs. It does not make any sense from a public policy perspective and it certainly is not smart politically to alienate Catholic voters."
Current law does not mandate private insurance coverage for contraceptives nor does it require free birth control. Under the current law, employers who oppose birth control on moral grounds may choose insurance without such coverage. But such employers certainly do not forbid birth control for their employees; they simply do not pay for it because it is against their religious beliefs.
The PPACA included a provision requiring that insurance plans include free contraception coverage. But, when passed, PPACA also proposed to continue to allow employers an exemption to mandated contraception in offered health insurance plans if the employer objected on moral or religious grounds. This was part of the agreement reached by pro-life Democrats. The issue for pro-life Democrats is that certain types of birth control cause abortions of new embryos.
"I would have never voted for the final version of the bill if I expected the Obama Administration to force Catholic hospitals and Catholic Colleges and Universities to pay for contraception," said former Pennsylvania Congresswoman Kathy Dahlkemper. "We worked hard to prevent abortion funding in health care and to include clear conscience protections for those with moral objections to abortion and contraceptive devices that cause abortion. I trust that the President will honor the commitment he made to those of us who supported final passage."
Women's groups scored a tremendous victory with a contraception mandate that requires all health insurance companies to provide free birth control. Some group, such as Emily's List and NARAL are now attempting to push the mandate beyond its hard won legislative intent by forcing employers who oppose contraception for moral reasons to include free birth control in their plans as well. They are also using scare tactics to convince their supporters that they are in jeopardy of losing coverage for birth control.
"The campaign by Emily's list to scare women into thinking that they will no longer have access to birth control is as dishonest as the Republican campaign to convince voters that the PPACA funds abortion," said Stephen Schneck of the Institute for Policy Research & Catholics Studies at The Catholic University of America. "The PPACA does not fund abortion and not one woman will lose access to birth control under the new law. In fact, millions of women will now receive free birth control under that law."
NARAL's and Emily's List dishonest campaign may well mean that millions of Americans could lose their access to employer sponsored health care. Notre Dame President, Father Jenkins expressed concern that the mandate "would compel Notre Dame to either pay for contraception and sterilization in violation of the church's moral teaching, or to discontinue our employee and student health care plans in violation of the church's social teaching,"
"This is more about business as usual in Washington with special interest groups trying to create controversy to raise money," said Dahlkemper. "Common sense would say health insurance, even if it does not include contraception coverage, is better than no insurance at all. If common sense prevails, the final rule will allow fair conscience protections that will not force religious institutions choose between social teaching and moral teaching."