August 8, 2013
The Obama Administration’s contraceptive/abortifacient/sterilization mandate will begin to be enforced against nonprofit religious schools, charities and health care providers on January 1, 2014. In the weeks to come, Congress must decide whether to address this problem before that deadline.
Members of Congress should continue to be urged to co-sponsor the Health Care Conscience Rights Act (H.R. 940, S. 1204), and to work for its approval in the next "must-pass" bill needed to keep the federal government operating. Government must not force Americans to violate their religious and moral beliefs on respect for life when they provide health care or purchase health coverage.
Congress is now in its summer recess (August 5-September 9). The recess presents special opportunities to contact your Members and urge their support for H.R. 940/S. 1204. Members will be in their home districts and states. They will be learning what is important to their constituents, and this will influence their actions when they return in the fall. Please consider taking one or more of the following actions:
- Meet with Members in their local offices.
- Ask questions at town hall meetings.
- Step forward to talk with Members at county fairs and other public events listed on Members’ schedules.
- Write letters-to-the-editors for local papers and newsletters in response to stories or editorials related to conscience rights.
- Participate in radio and TV call-in shows. Members and their staffs read the local papers and track local media.
Always be polite and respectful. Full contact and scheduling info can be found on Members’ web sites at: www.house.gov and www.senate.gov.
Of course, if you have not yet sent e-mail messages to your Representative and two Senators urging support of H.R. 940/S. 1204, you can do so by clicking on the link below. A note: You also will be able to send a separate message to House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) using his special Speaker’s web form.
Some background. Under the new health care law, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) requires most health plans to cover “preventive services for women,” including drugs and procedures that many citizens find objectionable for moral and religious reasons. These objectionable items include sterilization, FDA-approved birth control (such as the IUD, Depo-Provera, ‘morning-after’ pills, and the abortion-inducing drug Ella), and “education and counseling” to promote these to all “women of reproductive capacity,” including minor girls. Under the final rule released by HHS on June 28, the mandate allows only a very narrow exemption for a “religious employer,” chiefly aimed at what HHS calls “houses of worship.” Other religious organizations offering education, health care and charitable services do not qualify for the exemption. The mandate will be enforced against them beginning January 1, 2014, under an “accommodation” that only changes the way the objectionable items must be provided to all employees and their dependents. There is no exemption or delay for individuals, or for businesses owned and operated by families with moral or religious objections.
Thanks for all you do in support of life!
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