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Monday, January 23, 2012

Kathleen Sebelius vs. Religious Freedom

Last August, under authority granted by Obamacare, Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius published an “interim final rule” for comment that would require private health-insurance plans to cover, as “preventive services,” all FDA-approved “sterilization procedures” and “contraceptive methods” — and without deductibles or co-pays. We and other critics raised numerous objections, none of which were addressed last Friday, when Secretary Sebelius announced the final promulgation of the rule, which will go into effect August 1.

Since the FDA approves, as “contraceptives,” drugs such as Plan B and Ella that may cause early-stage abortions, the federal government could force nearly every employer in America to pay for abortions and sterilizations. Colleges and universities providing insurance to their students will face the same requirement.

The one exemption HHS offers is for those plans offered by “religious employers,” which is defined so narrowly that practically no one but actual houses of worship can qualify. Religious schools, colleges and universities, hospitals, social-service organizations, and charitable institutions — in short, all those who try to do good in the world by serving all who come to their table — will not qualify for the exemption, and will be forced to provide contraception, abortion, and sterilization. The alternatives are to drop health insurance for one’s employees (forcing them into the government “exchanges” and paying a hefty fine as well), or to close one’s doors.

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