U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio introduced a bill today to repeal a new Obamacare mandate forcing religious-based institutions to provide insurance coverage for contraceptives for employees.
The proposal, entitled the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 2012, springs from the fact that the Obamacare mandate “violates the religious liberties and conscience rights of faith-based institutions by forcing them to offer employees insurance coverage for contraceptives,” the Florida Republican said.
“Earlier this month, the Department of Health and Human Services finalized a new mandate that would require most church-affiliated organizations to offer their workers private insurance coverage without out-of-pocket charges for birth control,” Rubio said. “The administration ignored efforts by numerous faith-based organizations to be granted an exemption on religious grounds.
“The Obama administration’s obsession with forcing mandates on the American people has now reached a new low by violating the conscience rights and religious liberties of our people,” Rubio said. “Under this president, we have a government that has grown too big, too costly and now even more overbearing by forcing religious entities to abandon their beliefs. This is a common-sense bill that simply says the government can’t force religious organizations to abandon the fundamental tenets of their faith because the government says so.”
Catholic Church officials in particular are outraged
at being forced to provide the pill for employees, insisting that the rule violates their religious liberty.
In a concession, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said nonprofit institutions such as church-affiliated hospitals, colleges. "I believe this proposal strikes the appropriate balance between respecting religious freedom and increasing access to important preventive services," Sebelius said.
Catholic Church officials beg to differ.
"Never before has the federal government forced individuals and organizations to go out into the marketplace and buy a product that violates their conscience," said New York Cardinal-designate Timothy Dolan, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. "This shouldn't happen in a land where free exercise of religion ranks first in the Bill of Rights."
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