Monday, November 28, 2011

The Contraception Mandate

Notre Dame Law Professor Rick Garnett has a column in USA Today arguing that the mandate for contraception coverage in all new healthcare plans should be scrapped. The mandate violates the conscience rights of religious institutions who are opposed to contraception, abortion, and sterilization. An excerpt:

"It is true that the administration's proposed mandate includes an exemption for some religious employers, but it is so stingy as to be nearly meaningless. It does nothing for individuals or insurers, and it applies only to employers whose purpose is "the inculcation of religious values" and that hire and serve primarily those of the same religious faith. The vast majority of religious educational, social-welfare and health care organizations — not to mention the ministry of Jesus on earth — do not fit this crabbed definition.

The proposed exemption covers only inward-looking, members-only, religious-instruction organizations while excluding those that respond to the call to feed the hungry, care for the sick, house the homeless and share the good news with strangers. Religiously affiliated hospitals, charities and universities that serve people of other religions would be vulnerable. The exemption assumes that religion is only about belief and values, not service, sacrifice and engagement. It purports to accommodate religious believers, but it actually would confine their belief."

Read the full column here.

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