Re: Michigan House Bills 5006, 5276, 5277, and 5278
Testimony before Michigan House Committee
23 March, 2004
Thank you for the opportunity to testify before this committee, to review
House Bill Nos.
5278 introduced and referred to the House Health Policy Committee.
First, I want to congratulate Reps. Richardville, Gleason and Hummel and
all our legislators for their leadership in protecting the fundamental basic
"right of conscience" of individuals and organizations responsible for
designing, implementing, managing, financing and providing health care for
the people of Michigan.
I am Michael O'Dea of Rep. Paul Condino's home district in Southfield,
MI. I have been in the health care business for 34 years as a sales manager
for Dow Chemical, when they were a leading provider of diagnostic,
laboratory and pharmaceutical products; as an independent health care
benefits consultant; and as the Executive Director of the Christus Medicus
Foundation (CMF), a not-for-profit organization, focused on educating
Americans on the urgent need to reclaim faith based healthcare by reforming
corporate and public policy to allow people a "conscientious choice" in
selecting health plans. I also co-founded and continue to be involved with
Mother & Unborn Baby Care and Casa Vitae, both non-profit charitable
organizations that assist mothers faced with a crisis pregnancy. I am an MBA
graduate from the University of Detroit. I entered the United States Army in
1967 as a Private, attended Officer Candidate School, where I was
commissioned in 1968. I served both in the United States and Viet Nam, where
I was awarded the Bronze Star.
Although I am proud of my career accomplishments, I am most proud of my
role as husband and father. I am married and father of seven children, of
which five are adopted, and two biological. It is the gift of freedom that
my family and I have enjoyed; and the protection of that freedom for my
children and our nation's children that brings me here to testify in support
of this most important Health Care Right of Conscience legislation. My
testimony will pay particular attention to the right of conscience for those
who finance health care, which is ultimately each and every one of us
through our employers, insurance companies, individual health plans, union
plans, and government plans. We either pay through private health premiums
The most fundamental freedom that is at issue in our health care culture
today is the freedom of an individual to exercise a "conscience choice" in
health care. Powerful political interest groups, such as Planned Parenthood
(PP), Alan Guttmacher Institute (AGI), National Organization for Woman
(NOW), and National Abortion Rights League (NARL) have intimated and
manipulated private employers and policymakers into believing that state
and/or federal law should require confidential payment for unhealthy, and
costly non health care procedures that are contrary to most Americans moral,
ethical and religious convictions. In states these special interests groups
have imposed their agenda to force millions to violate their "right of
conscience". Forced cooperation in the funding of abortion, sterilization,
contraception for minors without parental consent, domestic (same sex)
partners, in-vitro-fertilization, and artificial insemination are on the top
of their list.
Here in our own state, MIChild, Michigan Children's Health Plan requires
the use of tax payer's dollars to promote and provide contraceptive and
abortifacient chemicals and devices to minor children, without parental
knowledge or consent. A health care provider that wants access to MIChild
funds must agree to provide contraceptives and abortifacients to minors,
without parental consent. BCBS of Michigan is now requiring small groups to
provide a rider to pay for domestic partner relationships. What will
Michigan people be forced to pay for next? Will health premiums require
payments for domestic partners, invitro-fertilzation, cloning, infanticide,
euthanasia, and assisted suicide in all health plans?
It is incredible to think that health plans in Michigan force individuals
to use their hard earned money to violate their conscience and to
confidentially pay for contraceptive and abortifacient procedures that kill
babies, cause infertility and are dangerous to our children's health and
On March, 1, 2004 California Supreme Court ruled that Catholic Charities
Health Care Plan must include contraception, for workers even though it is
morally opposed to contraception. This is only the beginning of the attack
on religious liberty in health care. Not only will the Catholic Church be
attacked but so will Evangelical Protestant churches and other faith based
organizations. This judicial tyranny should be a wake up call to all who
believe in freedom.
The proponents of abortion and an anything goes lifestyle are demanding
their outrageous agenda as part of their civil rights and freedom "to
choose". Choice however is only for them. Catholic and other faith based
employers are given "no choice." Health care is quickly becoming a major
battle for freedom in the war between the "culture of life" and the "culture
During the late sixties, many patriotic Americans, including myself,
volunteered to put our lives at risk for freedom. I served as infantry
officer in Vietnam. I also had a brother that served in Vietnam as a machine
gunner. Many of our buddies died for the freedom to exercise our "right of
conscience". From the very beginning of this great nation up to and
including our present "War on Terror" , many men and women have died and
continue to die and put their lives at risk to keep us free.
"[O]ur rules can have authority over such natural
rights only as we have submitted to them. The rights of conscience we never
submitted, we could not submit. We are answerable for them to our God."
--Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826)
Passing House Bills 5006, 5276, 5277, and 5278, will put Michigan on the
cutting edge of: 1) pre-empting judicial tyranny, like happened in
California, and 2) set a precedent of protecting Michigan citizens from
special interests groups imposing, one size fits all, private and public
health plans that violate the "right of conscience" of most Americans.
I applaud you for your efforts here, today. Now is the `time for all of
us to cry out for freedom and pass legislation that allows the people of
Michigan the ability to exercise their "right of conscience" in health care.
Thank God for the great people and system of government we have in this
country to protect our freedom, and thank God for the wonderful legislative
leadership we have here today.
For more information, contact