By Wanda Franz, Ph.D., WVFL President
The Supreme Court’s decision involving the family-owned Hobby Lobby company raises issues of Federal Government overreach on many levels.
When the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) became law, it reserved large areas of decision-making for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). West Virginians for Life along with National Right to Life have argued from the beginning that the law made it possible for government bureaucrats to impact directly the health care of Americans without legislative overview. In particular, we pointed to the possibility that HHS, under the direction of pro-abortion Secretary Sebelius, would issue regulations requiring that abortion be covered by Obamacare.
HHS subsequently put out directives that employers must pay for 20 different types of contraceptives, including four forms that are widely accepted to be abortifacients – that is, they cause an early abortion by preventing the implantation of the newly formed human person in the womb. Note that this was not provided for in the law and that Congress never indicated that abortion should be provided free to U.S. women through insurance sold under Obamacare.
In particular, it is the employers, who are being required to foot the bill. The owners of Hobby Lobby were among many who complained that this regulation required them to act in violation of their religious beliefs that forbid abortion. Hobby Lobby is prepared to pay for the 16 forms of true contraception, but not for the four that abort a pregnancy, rather than prevent it. They sued under the Religious Freedom and Restoration Act, which was passed by Congress with overwhelming majorities and signed into law by President Clinton in 1993. The Supreme Court sided with them in defense of their religious freedom rights in this particular case.
A bill was subsequently introduced in the U.S. Senate to reverse the findings in the Hobby Lobby decision. Both of West Virginia’s Senators voted to support the bill. Senator Joe Manchin explained his vote this way:
“Today, I voted in support of overturning the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision that ruled for-profit companies can opt out of providing contraceptives to their employees because of religious beliefs. As Governor and U.S. Senator, I have always fought to protect the sincerely-held religious views of non-profit organizations, like soup kitchens, colleges, hospitals and similar non-profit organizations. However for-profit corporations do not have the same legal privileges as non-profits, and therefore they should not have the same protections as non-profits recognized by law as being a religious organization. This legislation strikes a balance between allowing non-profit organizations to hold onto their religious views while ensuring that Americans have access to safe, affordable and reliable preventative health benefits.”
Apparently, Senator Manchin believes that (1) business owners lose their religious freedom rights when they work for profit, and (2) the federal bureaucracy should be able to force business owners to pay for drugs that cause an early abortion as a “reliable preventative health benefit.” Since when is the killing of an unborn child a “preventive health benefit”? Each senator has sworn to uphold the Constitution. Apparently, Senator Manchin’s version of the Constitution has been stripped of the First Amendment.
Let Senator Manchin know that his vote has pleased the pro-abortionists and insulted West Virginia’s pro-life voters.