By Sarah Torre – The Supreme Court’s recent announcement that it will consider the constitutionality of some of Obamacare’s provisions, including the individual mandate, has reignited discussion of the health care law’s many problematic provisions. In addition to increasing insurance premiums and hampering job growth, Obamacare poses significant threats to the religious liberty of institutions and individuals and could have a serious negative impact on families.
For Belmont Abbey, a private Catholic college located in North Carolina, the most serious impact is Obamacare’s threats to religious freedom and conscience rights. Late last week, the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty announced it is suing the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on behalf of Belmont Abbey over a new mandate that would force the college to provide insurance plans for students and employees that cover procedures and prescriptions the college finds morally objectionable.
Fulfilling a provision of Obamacare that requires coverage of “preventive services,” HHS adopted a rule in August that mandates nearly all insurance companies cover contraception and sterilization—without cost to the insured. The rule includes mandatory coverage of ethically controversial drugs like ella, which can act as an abortifacient. Employers with moral and ethical objections to covering such services, like Belmont Abbey, can find little recourse in the narrowly drawn religious exemption to the rule. Not wishing to subsidize contraception, sterilization, or abortion, Belmont Abbey decided to sue HHS to secure the right to provide insurance coverage in accordance with the school’s religious beliefs.
Violations of institutional and individual conscience rights aren’t the only troublesome aspects of Obamacare. The law is replete with provisions that can be used to fund abortions and negatively impact families.
As Heritage research has been pointing out since Obamacare first passed, the law includes multiple problematic provisions with respect to the federal role in funding elective abortion. As a result of the defects in Obamacare, a federal tax credit will be made available to assist in the purchase of private health plans that cover abortion. Additionally, the limited and loose conscience protections outlined in the law are inadequate to protect pro-life medical professionals’ freedom to practice their profession in accord with their personal beliefs.
In addition to loopholes allowing federal funding of abortion, to which the vast majority of American families object, new funding streams for contraception education in schools and marriage penalties in Obamacare make the health care law very family unfriendly. Heritage research demonstrates how the law restricts parents’ ability to participate in the medical decisions of their minor children, establishes disincentives for people to marry, and weakens the religious freedom of individuals and institutions.
From conscience to parental rights, Obamacare poses many serious challenges to American liberty.