NRLC: Fight for conscience rights to continue in House, courts, and ballot box
WASHINGTON – The National Right to Life Committee (NRLC), the national federation of state right-to-life organizations, said today that it would continue to challenge the Obama Administration’s authority to mandate that virtually all employers pay for services they regard as morally objectionable, both in Congress and through political action.
The U.S. Senate today rejected an initial attempt to prevent the Obama Administration from forcing employers to provide health insurance that covers drugs or procedures to which they are morally opposed. By a vote of 51-48, the Senate tabled (killed) an amendment offered by pro-life Senator Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) and strongly supported by NRLC. The text of the Blunt Amendment is taken from an NRLC-endorsed bill, the Respect for Rights of Conscience Act (S. 1467, H.R. 1179). It would amend the Obama health care law (“ObamaCare”) to prevent the use of that law to issue regulatory mandates that violate the religious or moral convictions of those who purchase or provide health insurance.
The Blunt legislation does not affect any federal law other than ObamaCare, nor does it apply to state laws. In addition, the legislation does not allow any insurer to “discriminate against individuals because of their age, disability, or expected length of life.”
The Obama Administration has issued an initial mandate that requires nearly all employers to purchase plans that cover all FDA-approved methods of birth control. NRLC has pointed out that the same authority could be employed by the Administration in the future to order virtually all health plans to cover all abortions.
The focus now shifts to the House, where the same legislation, introduced as H.R. 1179 by Congressman Jeff Fortenberry (R-Ne.), currently has 220 cosponsors (more than half of all House members). In addition, numerous lawsuits have been filed by religiously affiliated employers, challenging the Obama mandate as a violation of constitutional rights and of the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
“National Right to Life will continue to challenge the Obama Administration’s abortion-expansionist agenda on Capitol Hill, and we will encourage millions of like-minded Americans to remember this issue when they cast their ballots in November,” said Carol Tobias, National Right to Life president.