VOL. 18  ISSUE NO. 52   |    DECEMBER 26, 2012 – JANUARY 1, 2013

DECEMBER 26, 2012

Obamacare's contraception provision must be amended to protect religious freedom

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BOHEMIA, New York – "Our members and many others who rallied to protect Religious Freedom won a preliminary victory when a federal court told the Obama administration to rewrite the health care law's contraception mandate," according to Dan Weber, president of the Association of Mature American Citizens.

The mandate would force religious institutions to pay for certain employee contraception and abortion costs even though it would force them to ignore their established teachings. "The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals said in its ruling that the administration must rewrite the mandate to ensure religious institutions have a right to practice what they preach. It was a victory not just for church-based organizations but for all who believe and want to protect all of the rights guaranteed in our Constitution."

Weber explained that Wheaton College and The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty were among dozens of church organizations that sued the government over the mandate. Many non-affiliated organizations, including AMAC, offered direct and indirect support.

"Apparently we made it too hot of an issue for the government and so during oral arguments the Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius relented and promised the mandate would be amended. But the court wanted more than promises. It ruled that the administration must rewrite the Obamacare provision by August 2013. In addition, the court demanded that the government provide progress reports every 60 days in the interim."

Kyle Duncan, who argued the case for the Becket Fund put it this way: "The D.C. Circuit has now made it clear that government promises and press conferences are not enough to protect religious freedom. The court is not going to let the government slide by on non-binding promises to fix the problem down the road."

Weber said that the ruling is an example of how powerful individuals can be when they band together for a common cause. "In this case, the cause is the protection of the rights guaranteed by the Constitution and the Association of Mature American Citizens is proud to have played a small role in achieving this first win. We recognize that we have a long way to go before we get a final resolution to this controversial issue. But, with the support of our members, we will not give in until we have won this fight decisively."

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