The Health and Human Services (HHS) contraceptive mandate law is a requirement that all employer health insurances provide access to contraceptives and abortion-causing drugs, including female sterilization. The law applies to all employers regardless of whether an employer agrees with the content of the law, as many religious organizations, groups, and employers feel.
The law is also a violation of the separation of Church and State, and is therefore unconstitutional.
The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution prohibits Congress (the Government) from passing a law which violates the religious freedoms of the citizens of the United States. The First Amendment does not stipulate that it only applies to cases where the religious freedoms of a church are violated, and so applies to all people in all situations. With the HHS mandate, Congress has passed a law requiring citizens to violate their personal religious beliefs, just because those beliefs are paramount to the way they run their business, such as a Christian bookstore or a business closed on Sunday to allow employees the right to practice their own religious beliefs.
The law does make some accommodations in some instances for religious employers, but the definition of a “religious employer” is considered by many to be too narrow. Obviously, a stand-alone church should qualify, but what about a business that operates as a for-profit business, paying taxes to the Government, while adhering to a specific set of religious beliefs, by which that business is run. Since the Constitution provides the right to practice one’s religion the way one wants, the running of a business based on religious beliefs – including the belief that the use of contraceptives is sinful – should be viewed no differently than a stand-alone church on the corner across the street.
The “well-meaning” intent of the HHS mandate is clear – provide ready access for people (mostly women) to contraceptives in order to prevent unwanted pregnancies. However, religious organizations (in any form, from church, to bookstore) have been providing ready access to other methods of preventing unwanted pregnancies for years, decades, even centuries, through the religious beliefs and teachings that they hold to. If HHS is looking to reduce unwanted pregnancies, maybe they should provide tax relief to organizations who teach, through religious beliefs, ways to do what this mandate aims to do by violating those organizations’ Constitutional rights to freedom of religion.