HHS Mandate, Religious Freedom, Top News

13 states sign letter urging broader religious exemptions to HHS mandate

BY KIRSTEN ANDERSEN

WASHINGTON, D.C., March 28, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Attorneys general from thirteen states have sent Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius a joint letter asking for increased religious freedom protections under ObamaCare.

Alabama’s attorney general was among those who signed the letter, along with those from Colorado, Georgia, Florida, Idaho, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas ,and West Virginia.

In response to overwhelming outrage and organized protests by Catholics and others who oppose being forced to pay for drugs and procedures they consider immoral, the Obama administrationproposed a narrow exemption for some churches that object to the mandate on religious grounds.

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But the attorneys general complained that this does not do enough to protect religious business owners or other employers from being forced to pay for treatments that violate their personal religious faith.

“We believe the proposed regulations do not remedy the legal infirmities in the original HHS mandate,” the signing attorneys wrote.

“As you know, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act…requires the federal government to use the least restrictive means to accomplish a compelling government interest. RFRA cuts across all federal regulations and requires ‘strict scrutiny’ of all actions of the federal government that burden the exercise of religion.”
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West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrissey told the West Virginia Record, “HHS’s proposed amendments fail to address the deep faith-based concerns that many organizations and businesses have with the government demanding that they pay for certain types of health care services.”

“The proposed amendments violate the religious freedoms on which this country was built because they allow houses of worship to be exempt from a mandate, but they do not apply the same principle to nonprofit or for-profit companies with faith-based objections,” he said.

More than 50 lawsuits have already been filed over the HHS mandate requiring employers to offer coverage for contraceptives, sterilizations, and abortion-causing drugs to their female employees without a co-pay. One of them was filed by EWTN, an Alabama-based Catholic television channel, but was dismissed this week due to the constant revisions being made to ObamaCare’s myriad regulations.

The network was invited to refile their suit when the administration is finished altering the regulations.

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