Opinion

Obama ramps up contraceptive mandate; courts say not so fast

hobby-lobbyThe Department of Health and Human Services on Friday submitted its final draft of Obamacare regulations, which stiffen requirements that all but a very few health insurance plans provide contraceptives, sterilizations and abortion-inducing drugs free of charge to policyholders. The day before, though, a federal appellate court ruled that such provisions are probably unconstitutional.

The final adjustments to the regulations, published by the administration Friday, made no exception for Catholics and evangelical Christian business owners who object on moral or religious grounds, according to CNS News.

Even exempted nonprofit religious organizations aren’t let off the hook. They still have to offer contraceptives free of charge to their employees, though their insurance carriers will have to pay for it, which misses the point.

When Health and Human Services made its ruling Friday, it apparently hadn’t heard about the federal court decision issued the day before.

An Oklahoma-based chain of arts and crafts stores cleared a legal hurdle Thursday when an appeals court ruled that it could challenge a provision of Obamacare on religious grounds, even though it’s not a religious organization.

Hobby Lobby and a sister chain of Christian bookstores objected to the requirement that it provide certain types of contraceptives free of charge to employees through a company health insurance plan, according to CNS News.

Not only did the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals judges unanimously reverse the federal district court’s decision by ruling that Hobby Lobby and Mandel Bookstores can proceed with their action, they took the unusual action to note that the plaintiffs will, in all probability, prevail.

“Hobby Lobby and Mardel have drawn a line at providing coverage for drugs or devices they consider to induce abortions, and it is not for us to question whether the line is reasonable,” the judges wrote. “The question here is not whether the reasonable observer would consider the plaintiffs complicit in an immoral act, but rather how the plaintiffs themselves measure their degree of complicity.”

Hobby Lobby is the largest and most recognizable of the over 30 non-religious, for-profit organizations seeking injunctive relief from Obamacare’s contraceptive mandate on the grounds of religious or moral belief.

“A religious individual may enter the for-profit realm intending to demonstrate to the marketplace that a corporation can succeed financially while adhering to religious values,” the court wrote. “As a court, we do not see how we can distinguish this form of evangelism from any other.”

I have a feeling 2013 will not go down as a good year for the Obama administration.

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