The Catholic Church’s First Amendment Right to Freedom of Religion is being by President Obama’s Health Care Bill, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) and more specifically the HHS Mandate, which is the section of Obamacare that deals with contraceptive materials, abortions, so on and so forth. The Church has made its stance on abortion and birth control very clear. Obama is going directly against the beliefs of Catholics. The HHS Mandate is unconstitutional. It would force employers who might be Catholic to provide health care plans that would include contraceptive materials, sterilization, and abortion-inducing drugs, which completely disregards the Catholics’ freedom of religion. The President made an explicit promise to the Bishops of the Catholic Church that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act would not have anything to do with abortion and birth control. This was, apparently, a blatant lie. According to Kathleen Gilbert, a journalist for LifeSiteNews.com, “To Dalton 2
comply with the accounting requirement, plans will collect a separate $1 abortion surcharge from each premium payer… being forced to pay for abortion-subsidizing plans is ‘just as bad’ as directly paying for the abortions themselves;” (LifeSiteNews). The fact is that this bill is unconstitutional and that the President told a lie to gain the support of a major group, which should put Obama on immediate grounds for impeachment. As impeachment is quite extreme though, it is more likely that this bill may lose President Obama many of the Catholic supporters that he had in the 2008 election. The first line of the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States reads as follows: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof” (Cornell). Possibly the most controversial section of President Barak Obama’s Health Care Bill is that which breaches Catholics’ First Amendment Right to freely practice their beliefs. Obama’s Bill would force all employers, including Catholics, to provide health care to their employees that would include contraceptive materials, etc. The President had a meeting with Timothy Dolan, a Cardinal of the Catholic Church and current Archbishop of New York city. In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Cardinal Dolan spoke to journalist James Taranto about his meeting with the President: “I said, 'I've heard you say, first of all, that you have immense regard for the work of the Catholic Church in the United States in health care, education and charity. . . . I have heard you say that you are not going to let the administration do anything to impede that work and. . . that Dalton 3
you take the protection of the rights of conscience with the utmost seriousness. . . . Does that accurately sum up our conversation?' [Mr. Obama] said, 'You bet it does.'" (WSJ). Dolan reported that he was quite surprised when he received a call from President Obama in January, basically telling him that the mandates concerning contraception were going to stay in place and the Church had until August to find a way to comply. Cardinal Dolan admirably replied, “‘Well, sir, we don't need the [extra time]. I can tell you now we're unable to comply.’” (WSJ). Obama clearly lied to the Cardinal, as well as all of the bishops of the United States.
It isn’t just church officials and politicians that are publicly opposing The HHS Mandate. When asked how the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act infringes on Catholics’ Right to Freedom of Religion, Dr. Karen Dalton, a medical doctor, a crisis pregnancy counselor at FOCUS Pregnancy Help Center, and Catholic mother of 3, gave a passionate response: The Obama administration's infringement is twofold: 1) they have taken it upon themselves to determine the definition of what constitutes a religious entity and have decided that to qualify, the entity must employ AND minister only to members of its religion. Jesus...
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"LifeSiteNews Mobile | Obama Health Care Rule Final: $1 Abortion Surcharge from Premium Payers." LifeSiteNews. Web. 29 May 2012. <http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/obama-health-care-rule-final-1-abortion-surcharge-from-every-premium-payer>.
"Share." Forty-three Catholic Organizations File Lawsuits against HHS Mandate. Web. 30 May 2012. <http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/forty-three-catholic-organizations-file-lawsuits-against-hhs-mandate/>.
Taranto, James. "When The Archbishop Met the President." Online.wsj.com. Wall Street Journal, 31 Mar. 2012. Web. 29 May 2012. <http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303816504577311800821270184.html?>.
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Thomm, Nick. "National Petition to Stop HHS Mandate." Stophhs.com. United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Web. 29 May 2012. <https://www.stophhs.com/stop-hhs-faq/>.
"Welcome to the Purdue OWL." Purdue OWL: MLA Formatting and Style Guide. Web. 29 May 2012. <http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/747/2/>.
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