It has been observed by many that President Obama has a fundamental disrespect for the traditional concept of rule of law. Many have observed that Mr. Obama’s administration strictly follows laws it likes, completely disregards laws that he doesn’t like, makes up constitutional principles out of whole cloth, and disregards other rights and principles in the Constitution. But then again, he did promise the “fundamental transformation” of this country, and our constitutional principles and notions of the rule of law make such a transformation difficult without an overwhelming national consensus. As one recent example, even after his Administration’s loss last June at the Supreme Court about whether family-owned businesses and non-profit organizations that objected to paying for abortions and abortion-causing drugs for their employees could be compelled to do so, the Obama administration has now doubled down to ignore the 5-4 Supreme Court decision.
The Obama administration recently released a fact sheet on the newly-proposed federal mandate rules pertaining to non-profit organizations and closely held for-profit entities, such as Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties, the plaintiffs in the case decided by the Supreme Court last June. A copy of the federal government’s fact sheet is available here.
On the surface, the government factsheet on the new rules makes it clear that the new rules will also violate the conscience rights of the leadership of both non-profit organizations and family businesses. According to the factsheet, the Obama administration will publish two new regulations relating to the “preventive services” mandate. One is an interim final rule regarding an additional mechanism for non-profits to notify the government of their objection to the mandate. The second is a proposed final rule and request for comment on applying an accommodation procedure to for-profit businesses, like family-owned companies Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties. Under the new rules, upon an objection by the entity, then the federal government will:
notify the insurer for an insured health plan, or the Department of Labor will notify the [Third Party Administrator, the “TPA”] for a self-insured plan, that the organization objects to providing contraception coverage and that the insurer or TPA is responsible for providing enrollees in the health plan separate no-cost payments for contraceptive services for as long as they remain enrolled in the health plan. Regardless of whether the eligible organization self-certifies in accordance with the July 2013 final rules, or provides notice to HHS in accordance with the August 2014 IFR, the obligations of insurers and/or TPAs regarding providing or arranging separate payments for contraceptive services are the same, as discussed in this Fact Sheet. The interim final rule solicits comments but is effective on date of publication in the Federal Register.
Failure to comply will result in fines of $100 per day per employee. As reported in LifeNews, Arina Grossu, Director for the Center for Human Dignity at the Family Research Council, explains in real English what these new rules mean:
Effective immediately, this latest rule still orders charities like the Little Sisters of the Poor, non-profit Christian colleges like Wheaton College, and religious broadcasters like EWTN to violate their consciences simply because they legally contract for health coverage. The government uses their contract as the basis to force their insurers to provide their employees with free contraception and drugs that can kill human embryos, against their sincere conscientious beliefs. [This creates] the threat of crippling fines on non-profits who stand up for their freedom of conscience. What remains an insulting accounting gimmick does not protect the rights of Americans with sincere conscientious objections. It is simply another clerical layer . . . because the employer still remains the legal gateway by which these drugs and services will be provided to their employees. It’s very disappointing that the Obama administration is doubling down on its plans to punish charities and non-profits that assist the poor and homeless, who in some cases have nowhere else to turn for assistance.
Emphasis added. Yes, Ms. Grossu, these rules are very disappointing, but hardly surprising. Abortion, to Mr. Obama and the members of his party, is the highest social “good.” With these new rules, Mr. Obama, paraphrasing Humpty Dumpty in Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking Glass, takes the Hobby Lobby decision and ignores its meaning. “’When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.’” Of course, in accordance with the Supreme Court’s decision in Hobby Lobby, the proper government rule would be to offer a full exemption from these mandates to charities and family-owned businesses that have sincerely-held conscientious objections. But in Obama World, religious liberty must move to the back of the bus for abortion absolutism. But I can see how many could reasonably ask the important question about how God could bless my business and employees if I were complicit in the murder of unborn children.