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Friday, March 28, 2014

Families fighting Obamacare's assertion of "pill-level power" - my commentary on Fox News

Published by Fox News
By Jonathan Imbody
March 25, 2014
Why do so many Americans feel that we went to bed in the USA and woke up in China?
It seems that overnight, our government started tracking our phone calls, denying IRS approvals of organizations for political reasons, deciding which doctors we can visit and dictating decisions down to the level of what kind of light bulbs we can buy. Heavy-handed government edicts are making employers cut jobs, trim employees' hours and drop health insurance.
Secrecy and stonewalling still shroud the stories behind several of these government abuses of power, but the source of the loss of freedom related to our own healthcare is hardly mysterious.
In a time of economic crisis, Obamacare has confronted employers with new business-threatening health insurance costs and heavy Obamacare fines. Many employers predictably have had to cut jobs and drop healthcare insurance in order to survive.
By transferring massive power to the administration's federal bureaucracy, Obamacare snatched away decision-making power not only from employers, but also from patients and physicians. Obamacare empowered ideologically driven Obama administration officials to make myriad healthcare decisions for us and our employers, literally down to the level of specific pills.
The audacity of this pill-level government decision-making was exposed in the mandate under Obamacare that prescribes the provision of 20 specific contraceptives. While many Americans, including those with religious convictions, approve of and use certain contraceptives, the government-mandated, no-exceptions list includes four especially controversial items (Plan B, ella and two intrauterine devices--IUDs) that the FDA notes can end the life of a developing human being.
Despite a hot national controversy over the life-ending pills on the mandate list, the administration has wielded its new power under Obamacare with a zeal and rigidity frighteningly similar to that with which totalitarian countries like China enforce its one-child-only, forced abortion policy. In fact, the Obama administration's enforcement of its new pill policy has been so harsh and unyielding that one of Mr. Obama's own appointees to the Supreme Court--Justice Sonia Sotomayor--intervened with an injunction to stop the administration from forcing a group of elderly nuns engaged in hospice ministry, the Little Sisters of the Poor, to participate in the contraceptives mandate.
Why would the government intervene to force the provision of free contraceptives for every woman from the Hamptons to Beverly Hills? Everyone who has easily bought and used contraceptives at the neighborhood drug store can readily see that the administration has no compelling interest to do so beyond raw politics and ideology.
President Obama unwittingly confirmed the lack of a compelling need for government intervention when he asserted in a White House address, "Nearly 99 percent of all women have relied on contraception at some point in their lives--99 percent." Why would the federal government intervene to mandate the provision of what even the President admits is a ubiquitous product? The existing ready access to contraceptives, combined with literally millions of exemptions handed out by the administration to virtually everyone but religious objectors, effectively rules out any government claim to a compelling reason for the mandate.
The Supreme Court today examined justification for trampling Americans' conscience freedoms. The Court heard two cases of family-owned businesses whose only crime appears to be not sharing the administration's ideology. Two families that own and operate companies--the Conestoga Wood Specialties and the Hobby Lobby--maintain a science- and faith-based objection to providing just the four of the mandated contraceptives that can end a human life.
As a result, these two family-owned businesses face government fines totaling millions of dollars as the cost of exercising what they thought were every American's unalienable First Amendment freedoms. They could also, of course, simply drop their employees' healthcare insurance altogether. But that option likewise incurs draconian Obamacare fines, and the families want to continue providing excellent health coverage to employees as they were able to before Obamacare.
These families now fight in court for the freedoms that other Americans have fought for on the battlefield. Ordinary shopkeepers, farmers and other patriots won our freedoms when they put their lives on the line to challenge and break the power of a tyrannical king.
As the words of George Washington warn us, "Government is not reason, it is not eloquence—it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master; never for a moment should it be left to irresponsible action."
The writer is vice president for government relations of the Christian Medical Association and director of Freedom2Care. 

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Family takes Obamacare religious freedom case to Supreme Court

Wayne Hepler, owner of the Seneca Hardwood Lumber company, sees his work and providing jobs to the community as part of a stewardship from God. He views his business as an extension of himself and his values.

Hepler has always depended on the first freedoms in the Bill of Rights--especially freedom of religion, speech and assembly. But when the Obama administration insisted that companies like his participate in the provision of life-ending contraceptives, Hepler said that violated those First Amendment freedoms.

Hepler notes that the government is saying, "We are going to force you to do something against your moral principles."

His daughter notes, "Anytime you see someone else's rights being violated, that should be a concern. If you can violate one right, what's to keep another right from being violated?"

Heritage Foundation video
View a video interview with Wayne Hepler, his daughter and attorney Matt Bowman here.

Now Hepler and others must argue their case for the restoration of religious freedom. The Supreme Court will hear two religious freedom cases, including Hepler's, on March 25.


Save the date and visit here: for the latest news and information when the two families, Alliance Defending Freedom’s client Conestoga Wood Specialties and The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty’s client Hobby Lobby seek justice from the U.S. Supreme Court.

Pray for the attorneys arguing the case:

Monday, March 17, 2014

Abortion clinics, like "bad gas station restroom" Gosnell clinic, forced by health regs to close

Gosnell's house of horrors

The Washington Times reports that in states across the country, a growing number of abortion clinics required to match the health and safety requirements of similar facilities are choosing to close their doors rather than come up to basic standards. That evidence speaks volumes about the appallingly low health and safety standards of abortion clinics. It also unveils the cold profit motives of clinic owners, who choose to close rather than pay for health and safety measures that would help protect the women, if not the babies, who enter their facilities.
Such a high regard for profit and low regard for women's health and safety marked the horrific Philadelphia abortion clinic of Dr. Kermit Gosnell, which was likened to "a bad gas station restroom." Gosnell was ultimately convicted of three counts of first-degree murder, for the death of three babies he delivered alive and then killed with concentration camp inhumanity, and also of involuntary manslaughter, for the death of Karnamaya Mongar, an immigrant woman who died after an anesthesia overdose during a Gosnell abortion.
Clinic regulations, such as vital requirements related to anesthesia, and on-site health inspections might have prevented the deaths. But a Grand Jury report revealed that under abortion advocate Governor Tom Ridge, "high-level government officials" had made a political and ideological decision to discontinue abortion clinic inspections because of "a concern that if they did routine inspections, they may find that a lot of these facilities didn’t meet [health and safety standards], and then there would be less abortion facilities, less access to women to have an abortion."
That's exactly what abortion advocates now claim about new state regulations for abortion clinics. Rather than initiating or even simply supporting efforts to protect women's health and safety in clinics through regulation and inspection, they instead accuse politicians of a "war on women."
The real war on women is where the casualties are found--inside the abortion clinics.