CMA views the mandate as violating constitutional and statutory protections of religious freedom and conscience. The mandate also undermines the American values of free enterprise and, more importantly, respect for human life. Specifically, CMA objects to the rule because:
- The mandate is unlawful and unprecedented in that it violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (“RFRA”), by imposing a substantial burden on religious beliefs without employing the required least restrictive means, and by failing to demonstrate a compelling governmental interest (since as even the President has attested, contraceptives are readily available to virtually all women).
- The mandate is pragmatically unwise, in that it leaves conscientious objectors with no positive options whatsoever. We must either violate deeply held moral convictions, discontinue health care coverage for employees, or pay huge fines that will drain funds otherwise used to help the poor, the sick and other ministry beneficiaries.
- The administration offers no accommodation options whatsoever to protect secular conscientious objectors. Such discrimination against non-religious objectors--including employers, employees and insurers--disregards historical conscience protections and standards of medical ethics. Millions of individuals and organizations through the ages have based their moral convictions on secular ethical standards such as the millennia-old Hippocratic oath or the more recent Nuremburg code.
- The administration is instituting a decidedly un-American policy that (a) classifies pregnancy as a disease requiring mandated treatment and (b) advocates the prevention of child-bearing as a health care cost savings. Unlike communist leaders in countries like China, Americans historically have not viewed pregnancy as a disease or children as an unwelcome product posing a cost burden.
- No payment scheme developed to comply with the mandate can avoid moral compromise for faith-based objectors. If the insurer increases the premiums of objecting employers to recoup the costs of the mandate, faith-based employers clearly are forced to subsidize, through increased premiums, the items considered morally reprehensible. Increasing the premiums only of the non-objecting employers would unfairly force them to pay for the religious objections of objectors, and the government would essentially be compelling the subsidy of a religious group. Either option violates the First Amendment: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof...."
- The mandate tramples Fifth Amendment protections ("nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation") by imposing costs on businesses while depriving them of the liberty to profit. The alternative to raising premiums that the administration advocates in the ANPRM--forcing insurers to cover the cost without raising premiums--is indefensible and an assault on the free enterprise system.
- While administration officials have talked at length about compromise and promising accommodation of religious liberty, nothing has actually changed in the final rule.
The administration retains only two realistic options regarding this unlawful, unprecedented, unwise and un-American policy: rescind the policy or face defeat in the courts. The CMA encourages rescission of this policy in its entirety.
Read the entire CMA document here.
Read HHS Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking
Sign petition to tell HHS to respect religious liberty and stop the coercion