Religious liberty and the Obamacare HHS/contraceptive mandate

2020: Little Sisters of the Poor win at the Supreme Court, but relief may be temporary
November 2018: Final Rules Issued: New Conscience Exemptions to Contraception Mandate (as reported in National Review)
From the Becket Fund: a summary of the Little Sisters of the Poor case, including the federal rule change that seeks to protect the conscience rights of the Little Sisters and other religious ministries relative to the contraceptive mandate.
October 2017 (from Catholic Standard): In groundbreaking settlement, Archdiocese of Washington DC’s Challenge to HHS Mandate is Settled; Conscience Rights Protected.
March 2017: As healthcare plan is debated in DC, don’t forget mandate concerns
May 2016: SCOTUS refuses to rule on legality of mandate, but lifts threat of fines to Little Sisters of the Poor and other mandate challengers
Older posts in chronological order:

April 2012 

It Takes a Village to Kill a Mandate: “The HHS mandate plays strange games with health care, and thus with people’s lives. It says certain procedures are “preventive” and thus must be free to women. No co-pay. Except that’s not really free: everyone, including women with religious objections to the procedures, must pay, since everyone will be required to carry insurance…But what about the First Amendment? The HHS mandate attempts to get around that by exempting certain religious employers – but not the ones that serve people of other religions. As others have pointed out, Jesus and the apostles would flunk that test….t does not matter if those of us who reject the mandate are in a minority. The Bill of Rights was not put into the Constitution to protect majorities.” More …

Mandate Rationale? Try Checking Under the Penumbra: “One bold soul asked [HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius] how she decided the HHS contraceptive-coverage mandate could square with religious liberty. Madam Secretary’s reply: ‘Congressman, I’m not a lawyer and I don’t pretend to understand the nuances of the constitutional balancing tests’…” More…

June 2012

Go Back to the Drawing Board (my remarks at a Standing Up For Religious Freedom rally in Concord, NH): “My faith is not a crime, a woman’s fertility is not a disease, and this mandate has got to go.” More…

Fortnight for Freedom: The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops calls for two weeks of prayer and action to bring about repeal of the Mandate.

November 2012

Politico provides a good overview of litigation to date challenging the Mandate.

February 2013

Memo to the President: Mandate 2.0 is still a failure. Despite tweaks to the Mandate, it still reflects contempt for religious liberty. It also reflects a troubling belief that women are broken and need to be fixed.

It’s time for NH’s Congressional delegation to affirm the First Amendment. 

March 2013

Here’s a link to the excellent speech I heard at CPAC 2013 by Eric Metaxas on religious liberty, which included remarks on the threat to the First Amendment posed by the Mandate.

June 2013

Link to post by Gail Finke: How will the Mandate kill religious freedom?

Bishop Peter Libasci opens Fortnight for Freedom in New Hampshire: “Fighting for freedom includes standing for the freedom to stand before God in clear conscience.” More…

July 2013

Marriage, Texas, HHS, and Taking Heart: “People around us still speak with courage and conviction, and therein lies reason to take heart.

Will the real mandate please stand up?  “I take all this as an affirmation by the current Administration that concerns over excess paperwork are a good reason to change a mandate, while concerns about religious liberty are not.”

Anti-Mandate demonstration planned in DC: “…why isn’t men’s fertility of equal concern to the federal government? How is it that women are the ones that need ‘fixing’ along with regular checkups?”

October 2013

Shutting down the government to protect the Mandate: Shea-Porter, free pills, and religious liberty. “Note her email’s smooth blend of HPV testing, domestic violence counseling, and birth control. All are ‘women’s preventive health services,’ according to Shea-Porter, reading from the HHS playbook. That term is the source of the HHS mandate, that outrage against the First Amendment, beside which Obamacare’s other flaws pale in comparison.

November 2013

DC Court of Appeals finds HHS Mandate compromises religious liberty: “The burden on religious exercise does not occur at the point of contraceptive purchase; instead, it occurs when a company’s owners fill the basket of goods and services that constitute a health care plan.

Three things the latest Obamacare “fix” doesn’t fix: “No matter what Obamacare’s partisans may say, providing health coverage to uninsured Americans cannot possibly be the goal of the law – not while the HHS Mandate stands, while business owners have more incentive to drop than to keep insurance for their workers, and while federally-dictated mandates piled onto insurance policies force increased premiums on all of us.

First HHS Mandate cases reach U.S. Supreme Court: Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Products, whose owners are Evangelical and Mennonite respectively, will get a hearing in this Court term. Does a religious liberty interest apply to an individual acting as owner of a business, as well as to an individual acting alone?

March 2014

The Hobby Lobby case is argued at the Supreme Court, and Americans United for Life debuts a video called “The Con” spotlighting the fact that this isn’t about birth control – it’s about religious liberty.

April 2014

Scott Brown and the Blunt Amendment: Former U.S. Senator from Massachusetts Scott Brown is now running for Senate from New Hampshire. He supported the Blunt Amendment, which unsuccessfully sought to have conscience protections written into Obamacare.

June 2014

Fortnight for Freedom 2014 posts: a new fact sheet from Women Speak for Themselves, and why we still need Fortnight for Freedom.

Why sue over the Mandate? With three days to go until the Hobby Lobby decision is handed down, here’s a quick review of reasons behind Mandate litigation.

So much noise, so little substance: life after Hobby Lobby. “One hates to be the skunk at the garden party, but that’s the position in which I find myself. The Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision was a relief. That’s it. It isn’t worth having a party over. I wish it were….All this fuss and bother, just because five Justices (and only five) agreed that a boss in a closely-held private company may not be compelled to help pay for or procure an employee’s abortion-inducing ‘birth control.’ This is a limited decision – appallingly limited.”

July 2014

Not just freedom to worship: Pope Benedict casts a jaundiced eye on efforts to restrict Americans’ religious liberty.

August 2014

Tales from the crypt: here comes the Equal Rights Amendment (again). Member of Congress Carolyn Maloney fumed, “They could not have made the Hobby Lobby ruling with an ERA.

December 2014

Year in review: Two Supreme Court cases were encouraging, but conscience rights are still under assault.

March 2015

Will the NH Senate throw a Hobby Lobby tantrum? A bill seeks to shame employers who choose not to be involved in employees’ birth control decisions.

First-in-the-Nation presidential candidates, where do you stand on the Mandate? “Will first-in-the-nation voters ask the right questions about the mandate, or will they let candidates get away with avoiding the issue?

July 2015

Another Fortnight for Freedom – with more religious liberty questions than ever. “Here’s something from Justice Kennedy’s opinion, addressing dissenters from the decision. Substitute ‘abortion rights’ or ‘contraceptive mandate’ for ‘same-sex marriage’ and see how it sounds. This statement is now part of constitutional law. If it applies to differing beliefs about marriage, it ought to apply to other issues as well.

October 2015

March for Life organization resists Mandate: “March for Life recently prevailed in federal court. Yesterday, the Obama Administration – specifically, the Secretaries of the Treasury and Health and Human Services – filed an appeal. And by the way, what’s the Treasury secretary doing signing on to the appeal against March for Life? Is that a heavy-handed way of serving notice that the March’s tax-exempt status is on the line here?

March 2016

The Little Sisters of the Poor join numerous petitioners at the U.S. Supreme Court to resist compliance with the contraceptive mandate.