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House GOP to propose religious-conscience protection bill today
Hotair ^ | 03/05/2013 | Ed Morrissey

Posted on 03/05/2013 8:25:44 AM PST by SeekAndFind

In a little under an hour, three members of the House Republican caucus will announce a new legislative effort to undo the HHS contraception mandate’s infringement on freedom of religious practice, and prevent the next incursion as well. The Catholic Association sent out a press release hailing the introduction of the Health Care Conscience Rights Act (HCCRA), which should face little opposition … at least in the House (via Frank Weathers):

House Representatives Diane Black (R-TN), Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE), and John Fleming, M.D. (R-LA) will hold a press conference tomorrow, Tuesday, March 5th at 10am EST in Rayburn House Office Building Room B-318 regarding the introduction of the Health Care Conscience Rights Act (HCCRA) that would protect Americans’ First Amendment rights and would stop the Obama Administration’s assault on religious freedom. HCCRA offers reprieve from ongoing violations of our First Amendment, including full exemption from the Obama Administration’s Health and Human Services (HHS) mandate and conscience protection for individuals and health care entities that refuse to provide, pay for, or refer patients to abortion providers because of their deeply-held, reasoned beliefs.

Under the health care coverage mandate issued on August 3, 2011, widely known as the HHS mandate, organizations and their managers are now facing potentially ruinous financial penalties for exercising their First Amendment rights, as protected by law. Hobby Lobby, a family business that was denied injunctive relief from the mandate and faces fines of up to $1.3 million dollars a day, unless its owners agree to fund potentially abortion-inducing drugs. If Hobby Lobby is forced to close its doors, some 25,000 jobs nationwide may disappear. The Obama Administration’s HHS mandate exemption only includes houses of worship and does not account for the thousands of religious and non-religious affiliated employers that find it a moral hazard to cover sterilization, contraception and potentially abortion-inducing drugs on their employer-based health insurance. Ultimately, the so-called “accommodation” does not protect anyone’s religious rights, because all companies and organizations will still be forced to provide insurance coverage that includes services which conflict with their religious convictions. The HCCRA would address this violation of our First Amendment rights by providing a full exemption for all those whose religious beliefs run counter to the Administration’s HHS mandate.

It’s not just about the HHS mandate on contraception, either. The HCCRA would block efforts to force health-care providers with religious principles in opposition to abortion to participate in or facilitate such activities, too:

The HCCRA also protects institutions and individuals from forced or coerced participation in abortion. In recent years there have been several examples of nurses being told they must participate in abortions. There have also been efforts to require Catholic Hospitals to do abortions, and a Catholic social service provider was denied a grant to assist victims of human trafficking on the basis of their pro-life convictions. The HCCRA codifies and clarifies the appropriations provision known as the Hyde‐Weldon conscience clause. This is accomplished by adding the protections for health care entities that refuse to provide, pay for, or refer for abortion to the section of the Public Health Service Act known as the Coats Amendment. It also adds the option of judicial recourse for victims whose rights have been violated under the HCCRA, Coats, or the conscience clauses known as the Church amendments.

The true offense in the HHS mandate is the presumption that the government can define the free exercise of religion, which is expressly protected in the First Amendment. The Obama administration thinks it can define religious exercise as only limited to worship activities within a church, temple, mosque, synagogue, meeting hall, etc. Even its most recent “accommodation” on the mandate makes that assumption by granting certain “exemptions” to the mandate for non-profit groups affiliated with religious organizations. It doesn’t recognize an individual right to express one’s faith or the First Amendment bar on infringing on individual exercise of religion, which is why the USCCB categorically rejected that latest condescension from the White House.

The HCCRA doesn’t quite dismantle that arrogance, but it will do the next-best thing, which is to prevent the White House from being able to impose it on others. However, that’s only going to happen if the Senate passes the HCCRA and Barack Obama signs it. That’s unlikely, especially in stand-alone form, although it might have a slightly better chance as an amendment on some legislation that Democrats really want. The most effective method would be to attach it to the continuing resolution, but John Boehner has already said that the House will produce a “clean” bill for the CR, so that path is out.

We’ll see if the trio can find a good vehicle for a bill that deserves to win on its own merits, and whose inability to do so says much more about its opponents than it does about the bill itself.


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Culture/Society; Government
KEYWORDS: 113th; bhohealthcare; congress; conscienceclause; contraception; gop; obamacare

1 posted on 03/05/2013 8:25:55 AM PST by SeekAndFind
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To: SeekAndFind

NOW IS OUR CHANCE TO BE PROACTIVE. PRAY PRAY PRAY PRAY that this bill will be passed.


2 posted on 03/05/2013 8:28:46 AM PST by Coldwater Creek (He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadows of the Almighty Psalm 91:)
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To: SeekAndFind

The first amendment makes this bill unnecessarily redundant unnecessarily, I repeat repeat.


3 posted on 03/05/2013 9:37:58 AM PST by SoFloFreeper
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To: SeekAndFind
When it comes to legislation, common sense should prevail.

In short, beliefs belong in church.

4 posted on 03/05/2013 10:06:11 AM PST by OldNavyVet
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To: OldNavyVet
When it comes to legislation, common sense should prevail. In short, beliefs belong in church.

Exactly. We can beg forgiveness Sunday for all the killing we funded the rest of the week. /sarc

Sorry, no sale, FRiend. Not all of us are hypocritical cowards.
5 posted on 03/05/2013 10:20:46 AM PST by LearsFool ("Thou shouldst not have been old, till thou hadst been wise.")
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To: OldNavyVet

RE: In short, beliefs belong in church.

True, but it isn’t as simple as that.

What if government FORCES religiously devout businesses and institutions to go against their beliefs ( e.g. forcing them to provide contraceptive and abortificent services for their healthcare )?


6 posted on 03/05/2013 10:31:52 AM PST by SeekAndFind
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To: SeekAndFind

I’m usually opposed to bill riders, but this bill also needs a rider to protect private businesses that don’t want to celebrate homosexual couples. So far in the U.S., a church-owned wedding gazebo, a wedding photographer, a cake-maker, a national online dating site, a wedding trolley have all had to go out of business or pay enormous fines for their rights of conscience when ambushed by gay couples. Also, various hotels and B&Bs in the UK.


7 posted on 03/05/2013 11:17:01 AM PST by Albion Wilde (Liberalism: knowing you're better than everyone else because of your humility. -- Daniel Greenfield)
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To: OldNavyVet
When it comes to legislation, common sense should prevail. In short, beliefs belong in church.

Believe this: our Constitution says that all areas of law not specifically enumerated in the Constitution should be handled by the states. The Federal government should have nothing to do with inflicting insurance or abortion costs on citizens or privately-owned caregivers.

8 posted on 03/05/2013 11:22:05 AM PST by Albion Wilde (Liberalism: knowing you're better than everyone else because of your humility. -- Daniel Greenfield)
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To: Albion Wilde
Also, various hotels and B&Bs in the UK.

Wat? How are hotels and B&Bs in the UK being adversely affected by Obamacare?

9 posted on 03/05/2013 11:58:08 AM PST by ksen (". . . organized greed always defeats disorganized democracy" - Matt Taibbi)
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To: SeekAndFind

The First Amendment is all that is needed on this topice. All this other legislation (including ACA) tries - and fails - to legislate morality.


10 posted on 03/05/2013 12:21:51 PM PST by LurkedLongEnough
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To: SeekAndFind
What if government FORCES religiously devout businesses and institutions to go against their beliefs

What we're looking at involves two conflicting socialist systems.

11 posted on 03/05/2013 12:32:53 PM PST by OldNavyVet
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To: OldNavyVet

>>>In short, beliefs belong in church.>>>

I don’t hang up my conscience when I leave church. Do you?


12 posted on 03/05/2013 12:35:17 PM PST by kitkat (STORM THE HEAVENS WITH PRAYERS FOR OUR COUNTRY)
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To: SeekAndFind

Dead in the Senate, even deader on The Won’s desk.


13 posted on 03/05/2013 1:03:55 PM PST by Cyber Liberty (I am a dissident. Will you join me? My name is John....)
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To: SeekAndFind

Canadian courts recently decided that any speech, including sermons, condemning the gay “lifestyle” was “hate speech” and actionable.

Given the lack of common sense in world today, we might need a Federal Law to prevent this sort of law here.


14 posted on 03/05/2013 1:19:52 PM PST by Little Ray (Waiting for the return of the Gods of the Copybook Headings.)
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To: Little Ray

I am not very familiar with the Canadian constitution.

Do they have an equivalent for our first amendment?


15 posted on 03/05/2013 1:36:07 PM PST by SeekAndFind
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To: Little Ray

I checked the Canadian constitution.

Their Section 1 is the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms which confirms that the rights listed in the Charter are guaranteed.

The section is also known as the reasonable limits clause or limitations clause.

It states thusly:

“The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees the rights and freedoms set out in it subject only to such reasonable limits prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society.”

This to me, is more restrictive than our first amendment because it allows the GOVERNMENT to LEGALLY limit an individual’s Charter rights.

What do the words “reasonable limits” mean?

It can mean anything really depending on who sits on the bench.


16 posted on 03/05/2013 1:41:17 PM PST by SeekAndFind
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To: ksen
Wat? How are hotels and B&Bs in the UK being adversely affected by Obamacare?

Stay with the train of thought here. I was discussing a needful rider on any bill defending rights of religious conscience that would also defend private businesses from anti-Christian activism. Such assaults have infected all of Western jurisprudence here and in Europe that once recognized the Natural Law.

Riders are often attached to other bills for related purposes, and even for unrelated purposes, like distributing pork projects to a Senator's district when he approves a completely unrelated bill.

17 posted on 03/05/2013 1:42:46 PM PST by Albion Wilde (Liberalism: knowing you're better than everyone else because of your humility. -- Daniel Greenfield)
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To: Albion Wilde
I was discussing a needful rider on any bill defending rights of religious conscience that would also defend private businesses from anti-Christian activism.

Why do private, secular businesses have to be protected from anti-Christian activism? Should they also be protected from anti-Hindu activism? Anti-Muslim activism?

Hobby Lobby is a secular business, it's not a church. Either obey the law or go do something else.

18 posted on 03/05/2013 1:59:28 PM PST by ksen (". . . organized greed always defeats disorganized democracy" - Matt Taibbi)
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To: ksen
Hobby Lobby is a secular business, it's not a church. Either obey the law or go do something else.

So, you favor homosexualism being forced into the private business lives of Christians of conscience? Do you also favor forcing Orthodox Jews to eat pork and serve it in their restaurants, forcing Hindus to slaughter cows or forcing Muslims to own dogs? How about forcing homosexuals to remain faithful in marriage, since that is the norm of marriage? Lots of luck with that...

19 posted on 03/05/2013 2:52:27 PM PST by Albion Wilde (Liberalism: knowing you're better than everyone else because of your humility. -- Daniel Greenfield)
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To: Albion Wilde

I’m sorry, maybe you could link me to the US Code that would require:

1) Orthodox Jews to eat pork and serve it in their restaurants,

2) Forcing Hindus to slaughter cows, or

3) Forcing Muslims to own dogs

Also how is homosexualism being forced onto people?


20 posted on 03/05/2013 3:07:15 PM PST by ksen (". . . organized greed always defeats disorganized democracy" - Matt Taibbi)
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To: OldNavyVet

State ordered atheism belongs in the Soviet Union, North Korea or Cuba. You’d feel right at home in one of these ethical free Utopias. Everyone the same. No thought and self control required beyond the political correctness of the herd slaves.


21 posted on 03/05/2013 5:13:23 PM PST by SaraJohnson
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To: ksen
1) Orthodox Jews to eat pork and serve it in their restaurants,

Kosher Salt has more sodium than table salt. What is to stop some municipality from restricting it on the basis of public health and cost. Let us not forget that the fascist FDR regime "accidentally" banned kosher chicken with the National Industrial Recovery Act. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schechter_Poultry_Corp._v._United_States
22 posted on 03/05/2013 11:18:11 PM PST by rmlew ("Mosques are our barracks, minarets our bayonets, domes our helmets, the believers our soldiers.")
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To: ksen

Seek help for your reading comprehension issues.


23 posted on 03/05/2013 11:39:38 PM PST by Albion Wilde (Liberalism: knowing you're better than everyone else because of your humility. -- Daniel Greenfield)
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To: SaraJohnson; ksen
No thought and self control required beyond the political correctness of the herd slaves.

Sara ... Sorry to say; that sentence applies to many, many ordinary people.

PS: Bravo, ksen

24 posted on 03/06/2013 8:07:12 AM PST by OldNavyVet
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To: OldNavyVet

Thanks OldNavyVet.

Hey, my son leaves for Great Lakes next month!


25 posted on 03/06/2013 1:16:35 PM PST by ksen (". . . organized greed always defeats disorganized democracy" - Matt Taibbi)
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To: ksen
Hey, my son leaves for Great Lakes next month!

That's great. It's one of the best things youngsters can do to grow up ... while seeing the world. One of my sons is now retired Navy, and he really got around in his P3 aircraft.

26 posted on 03/06/2013 4:41:54 PM PST by OldNavyVet
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