Idaho House of Representatives passes resolution against federal birth control mandate

By a vote of 53-13, the Idaho House of Representatives has passed a non-binding resolution urging the U.S. Congress  to pass a federal bill, the Respect for Rights of Conscience Act, which is before both the United States Senate and House of Representatives.  The bill would stop the imposition of the Obama administration’s birth control insurance mandate that is generating a controversy across the United States.

 

Washington state coercive pharmacy regulation rejected by court

Judge Robert B. Leighton of the United States District Court has ruled against the Washington State Department of Health. The case may be summarized by quoting the judge’s opening and concluding paragraphs:

This case presents a novel question: can the State compel licensed pharmacies and pharmacists to dispense lawfully prescribed emergency contraceptives over their sincere religious belief that doing so terminates a human life? In 2007, under pressure from the Governor, Planned Parenthood, and the Northwest Women’s Law Center, the Washington State Board of Pharmacy enacted regulations designed to do just that. . .

. . . The Board of Pharmacy’s 2007 rules are not neutral, and they are not generally applicable. They were designed instead to force religious objectors to dispense Plan B, and they sought to do so despite the fact that refusals to deliver for all sorts of secular reasons were permitted. The rules are unconstitutional as applied to Plaintiffs. The Court will therefore permanently enjoin their enforcement against Plaintiffs.

[Full text of ruling]

Three more universities sue US federal government because of HHS mandate

Ave Maria University in Naples, Florida, Louisiana College in Alexandria, Louisiana, and Geneva College in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania have filed civil suits against the US federal government in response to an Obama adminstration regulation that will force objecting employers to provide insurance coverage for surgical sterilization, contraceptives, and embryocidal  drugs.

 

Over 2,500 religious leaders sign letter against HHS mandate

The Family Research Council in the United States has released a letter signed by over 2,500 religious leaders from different denominations opposed to an Obama adminstration regulation that will force objecting employers to provide insurance coverage for surgical sterilization, contraceptives, and embryocidal drugs.[CNS]

 

Paediatricians refusing families for not vaccinating children

There appears to be an increase in the number of parents in the United States refusing vaccinations for their children, and a significant number of paediatricians are responding by refusing to continue with the families in their practices.  More than 30% of Connecticut paediatricians responding to a survey reported that they had asked families to leave their practices because of a refusal to immunize.  The study did not attempt to ascertain the reason for this.

Modern Medicine; Leib S, Liberatos P, Edwards K.  Pediatricians’ experience with and response to parental vaccine safety concerns and vaccine refusals: a survey of Connecticut pediatricians. Public Health Rep. 2011 Jul-Aug;126 Suppl 2:13-23

 

Obama Administration Guts Healthcare Conscience Regulation

National Right to Life News
21 February 2011
Reproduced with permission

Jonathon Imbody*

True civil rights protection requires cultural change. A long-term program of education within the medical community and in the public is needed to help build awareness among conscientious healthcare professionals of their civil rights and a respect for those rights by all.

On February 18 the Obama administration gutted the only federal regulation protecting conscientious healthcare professionals from discrimination.

While three long-standing federal conscience-protecting laws remain intact, the conscience-protecting regulation had been promulgated under the Bush administration to remedy documented pervasive discrimination against pro-life physicians and others in disregard of the anti-discrimination laws.

U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius effectively eviscerated a sensible Bush-era regulation that had finally put teeth to bipartisan federal civil rights laws enacted over the past three decades. Those anti-discrimination laws were passed, all after the Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade abortion ruling, as a way to keep physicians, nurses, hospitals and others from being forced out of medicine simply for following life-affirming ethical standards such as the Hippocratic oath.

But abortion advocates hyperventilated when it appeared that those laws would actually be implemented and enforced by the conscience protection regulation, which took effect in January 2009.

Cecile Richards of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America had said, “It is going to cause chaos among providers across the country.”

Then-Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton had said: “It threatens the health and well-being of women and the rights of patients across the country.”

Of course, none of their doomsday predictions even faintly materialized in the over two years since the original regulation took effect. In explaining Friday’s regulation change, HHS presented no evidence whatsoever of any hindrance to any patient, procedure or prescription. The complete lack of evidence didn’t seem to matter a whit, despite President Obama’s vow in his Inaugural Address to “restore science to its rightful place.”

The administration’s radical action again suggests tone deafness to the American public. Of the over 300,000 comments HHS received regarding rescission, twice as many opposed rescission as supported it. The Polling Company in 2009 conducted a nationwide scientific polling of the public and also of faith-based healthcare professionals. The results revealed that:

  • An overwhelming 63% of the public supported the conscience protection regulation whereas only 28% opposed the conscience protection regulation.
  • Only 30% indicated support for the Obama administration’s plan to get rid of the regulation, whereas 62% opposed the administration’s plan.
  • 88% of American adults said it is either “very” or “somewhat” important to them that they share a similar set of morals as their doctors, nurses, and other healthcare providers.
  • Nine of ten faith-based physicians agreed, “I would rather stop practicing medicine altogether than be forced to violate my conscience.”

In other words, faith-based healthcare professionals and institutions are ready to walk away from medicine if denied the ability to practice medicine according to conscientiously held ethical standards.

I tried to drive home that point in a meeting I had at the White House in 2009 with Obama officials regarding the conscience regulation and abortion in general. I pointed out that Mr. Obama and his officials never provided a concrete reason for trashing the reg, that the reg merely implemented existing federal law, and that it was crucial to preserving patient access to the pro-life physicians, hospitals and clinics across the country that depend upon conscience protections to practice medicine.

Especially in states already facing critical physician shortages–such as Texas, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Utah, Nevada, Idaho and Delaware–losing just one physician can erase healthcare access for thousands of patients. Hardest hit are poor patients and those who live in medically underserved areas.

The recent regulatory action makes all the more vital passing bills pending in the 112th Congress to protect healthcare access with conscience protections. For example, the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act (H.R. 3), offered by Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ); the Protect Life Act (H.R. 358), offered by Rep. Joe Pitts (R-Pa.); and the Abortion Non-Discrimination Act (H.R. 361) offered by Rep. John Fleming (R-La.), all forbid discrimination related to abortion, in certain contexts.

Abortion ideology has taken root in much of medical academia and healthcare institutions and has resulted in both overt and subtle discrimination that laws alone cannot adequately address. Civil rights laws by themselves, it should be remembered, did not protect minorities from many forms of discrimination.

True civil rights protection requires cultural change. A long-term program of education within the medical community and in the public is needed to help build awareness among conscientious healthcare professionals of their civil rights and a respect for those rights by all. Only then will we begin to restore medicine to its ethical moorings and protect the patients who depend upon ethical and compassionate healthcare professionals.


Ave Maria University files federal suit to protect religious identity

NEWS RELEASE

Ave Maria University

NAPLES, FL (February 21, 2012) –Jim Towey, Ave Maria University President announced today that the University is seeking declaratory and injunctive relief from a federal court in Florida, because the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services demands the University offer health plan services that undermine its firmly-held religious convictions.

“The federal government has no right to coerce the University into funding contraceptive services that include abortion-inducing drugs and sterilization, in the health plan we offer our employees,” said Towey. “Under the federal mandate Ave Maria University would be paying for these drugs if we complied with the law. So we will not. We are prepared to discontinue our health plan and pay the $2,000 per employee, per year fine rather than comply with an unjust, immoral mandate in violation of our rights of conscience.”

The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty filed suit this morning on behalf of the University.

“The federal mandate puts Ave Maria in a terrible bind,” said Kyle Duncan, General Counsel for the Becket Fund. “Either it betrays its faith and covers the drugs, or else it ends employee health benefits and pays hundreds of thousands in annual fines.”

Towey, former head of the Bush Administration’s Faith-Based and Community Initiatives is determined to stop the Administration’s assault on religious freedom. “Allowing a U.S. president of any political party or spiritual belief to force conformance to his or her religious or secular orthodoxy through executive action, is a perilous precedent,” said Towey. “I hope all of my colleagues in academia, including Catholic higher education, awaken to this danger.”

Ave Maria University’s case is the fourth lawsuit brought by the Becket Fund challenging the Obama administration’s abortion drug mandate. The Becket Fund also represents Belmont Abbey College (a Catholic college in North Carolina), Colorado Christian University (a nondenominational Christian University outside Denver), and the Eternal Word Television Network.

ADF, Louisiana College challenge Obama mandate

NEWS RELEASE

Alliance Defence  Fund

ALEXANDRIA, La. — Alliance Defense Fund attorneys filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of Louisiana College Saturday against the Obama administration. The lawsuit challenges the administration’s unconstitutional mandate that religious employers provide abortifacients, sterilization, and contraception at no cost to employees regardless of religious or moral objections.

“People of faith shouldn’t be punished by the government for following their beliefs when making decisions for themselves or their organizations,” said ADF Senior Counsel Kevin Theriot. “The Obama administration invented a fake ‘right’ to get ‘free’ abortion pills and sterilization and elevated it above real freedoms protected by the First Amendment. This calculated and intentional attempt to eradicate constitutional protections should terrify every freedom-loving American.”

“The Obama administration has purposely transformed a non-existent problem–access to contraception–into a constitutional crisis,” said ADF-allied attorney and co-counsel Mike Johnson, dean of Louisiana College’s Pressler School of Law. “This mandate offers no choice; Americans either comply and abandon their convictions or resist and be punished.”

Attorney sound bites: Kevin Theriot | Mike Johnson

President Obama held a press conference on Feb. 10 to offer a “compromise” under which some religious non-profit organizations would not have to comply with the mandate. Instead, the employer’s insurer would be required to offer the employer’s employees the same coverage at no charge. The “compromise,” however, does not exist in the rules or guidance Obama issued on Feb. 10, and the administration is not required to formally propose it.

Theriot explained that even if the proposed change did exist and had coherent boundaries, it would still require the employer to facilitate coverage by providing and paying for an objectionable plan, the costs of which would be passed on to the employers and/or employees via premiums.

“The time for silence is over,” said Louisiana College President Dr. Joe W. Aguillard. “Louisiana College will not sit by and allow this or any government to usurp our God-given religious freedoms and our time-honored Baptist heritage.”

The new lawsuit filed with the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana, Louisiana College v. Sebelius, argues that the mandate violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act as well as the First and Fifth amendments to the U.S. Constitution.

  • Pronunciation guide: Theriot (TAIR’-ee-oh)

ADF is a legal alliance of Christian attorneys and like-minded organizations defending the right of people to freely live out their faith. Launched in 1994, ADF employs a unique combination of strategy, training, funding, and litigation to protect and preserve religious liberty, the sanctity of life, marriage, and the family.

ADF, Geneva College to reveal lawsuit against Obama mandate Tuesday

NEWS RELEASE

Alliance Defence  Fund

WHO: ADF Senior Counsel Gregory S. Baylor, Geneva College President Ken Smith

WHAT: Press conference announcing new lawsuit against Obama birth control/abortifacient mandate

WHEN: Tuesday, Feb. 21 at 1:30 p.m. EST

WHERE: Geneva College, 3200 College Ave., Skye Lounge Student Center, Beaver Falls

BEAVER FALLS, Pa. — Alliance Defense Fund Senior Counsel Gregory S. Baylor will join Geneva College President Ken Smith Tuesday at a press conference to announce a new federal lawsuit against the Obama administration’s unconstitutional mandate that religious employers provide abortifacients, sterilization, and contraception to employees regardless of religious or moral objections.

“People of faith shouldn’t be punished by the state for following that faith in making decisions for themselves or their organizations,” said Baylor. “Every American should know that a government with the power to do this to anyone can do this–and worse–to everyone.”

ADF attorney sound bite: Gregory S. Baylor

“At Geneva College, we only have one Lord, and he does not live in Washington, D.C.,” Smith said. “The First Amendment protects Americans from mandates that require us to act against our own convictions. We find the mandate to provide our faculty, staff, and students with insurance that provides pills to abort babies totally abhorrent and unacceptable. The government shouldn’t be able to force anyone to buy or sell insurance that subsidizes morally objectionable treatments.”

The lawsuit, Geneva College v. Sebelius, will be filed in federal court Tuesday.

Geneva College is a comprehensive Christian college of the arts, sciences, and professional studies founded in the tradition of the Reformed Presbyterian faith. According to its website, Geneva provides “an academically rigorous education comprised of distinctive and innovative courses. Geneva offers over 40 undergraduate majors and seven master’s degree programs.”


ADF is a legal alliance of Christian attorneys and like-minded organizations defending the right of people to freely live out their faith. Launched in 1994, ADF employs a unique combination of strategy, training, funding, and litigation to protect and preserve religious liberty, the sanctity of life, marriage, and the family.