Dr. Boozman's Check-up

As I have previously stated, President Obama’s “accommodation” of religious liberty in his revised health care mandate covering contraceptives, sterilizations and abortifacients raises more questions than it answers. Perhaps, the most egregious part is that the President refuses to acknowledge that the Constitution guarantees conscience protections and instead tries to run around them.

You don’t “accommodate” religious liberties, you respect them. That’s why they are enshrined in the Constitution. Those Constitutional protections should prevent the President from trampling the conscience rights of Americans and religious institutions who hold a strong belief that contraceptives, sterilizations and abortifacients are wrong. Clearly, however, they are not enough. President Obama’s “accommodation” shows that he considers conscience rights to be an inconvenience in his effort to remake America in his vision. That is why we need to pass the “Respect for Rights of Conscience Act.”

The “Respect for Rights of Conscience Act”—introduced by my colleague from neighboring Missouri, Senator Roy Blunt—seeks to restore conscience protections that existed before President Obama’s flawed health care law. These are the same protections that have existed for more than 220 years since the First Amendment was ratified. It will likely be taken up in the near future as an amendment to the Highway Bill.

Many longstanding federal health care conscience laws protect conscientious objections to certain types of medical services. President Obama could have just as easily followed that course when he issued a mandate requiring almost all private health insurance policies—including those issued by religious institutions such as hospitals, schools and non-profits—to cover sterilizations and contraceptives, including emergency contraceptives, at no cost to policyholders…. ....but he did not. Now Congress must step-up and protect the religious liberties of all Americans.