Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott issued the following statement after Texas and several states challenged the constitutionality of the federal government’s rule that compels religious organizations to provide health coverage that conflicts with their moral and religious beliefs:
“Obamacare’s latest mandate tramples the First Amendment’s Freedom of Religion and compels people of faith to act contrary to their convictions. The President’s so called ‘accommodation’ was nothing but a shell game: the mandate still requires religious organizations to subsidize and authorize conduct that conflicts with their religious principles. The very first amendment to our Constitution was intended to protect against this sort of government intrusion into our religious convictions.”
These are the State of Texas’ objections to the Obamacare mandate:
• The rule conflicts with the First Amendment’s basic elements of the freedoms of religion, speech and association.
• The rule violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act by requiring the federal government to troll through an organization’s religious beliefs to determine whether the organization is religious enough to be exempt from the rule’s mandates.
• The rule’s practical effect will force religious employers and organizations to drop health insurance coverage, which will effect increased enrollment in state Medicaid programs and state-subsidized hospitals and medical centers.
Texas joins six other states in a coalition to oppose “The Mandate,” including Florida, Michigan, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, and South Carolina. See the Legal Challenge HERE
The Obama Administration is pushing back against challenges to its mandate by threatening to pull back preventative health care programs that cover more than 100,000 Texas women. The Texas Tribune reports:
“The Obama administration is trying to force Texas to violate our own state laws or they will end a program that provides preventative health care to more than 100,000 Texas women,” said Allison Castle, a spokeswoman for Gov. Rick Perry. “This boils down to the rule of law — which the state of Texas respects and the Obama administration does not…The rule, signed by Commissioner Tom Suehs on Thursday, takes effect March 14. Unless some last-minute agreement is brokered, the program, which receives $9 in federal funds for every $1 in state funds, will be either phased out or cut off by the end of March. At least 130,000 poor Texas women will lose access to cancer screenings, well-woman exams and contraception.”
“The stalemate appears unbreakable — Republican lawmakers have made clear they’d rather forgo the program and the federal money than allow Planned Parenthood to participate…’The Legislature has spoken. The attorney general has said it is constitutional. The Commissioner has signed the rule,’ said Kyleen Wright, president of the Texans for Life Coalition. ‘If Planned Parenthood cared as much about affordable health care for women as they say, they would get out of the way so that the program could continue.’…”
The Texas confrontation with the Obama Birth Control Mandate is but one of many efforts that emerged to protect Religious Freedom and the 1st Amendment of the Constitution. These efforts include Senator Roy Bunt of Missouri, who has introduced the “Respect for Rights Conscience Act, which the Chairman of the Committee on Pro-Life Activities of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, is urging senators to support. SEE DiNardo Article
Last week the National Clergy Council, representing church leaders of Catholic, Evangelical, Orthodox, and Protestant church traditions declared a State of Emergency for the Churches in response to the Obama Birth Control mandate. SEE State of Emergency.
Texas Governor Rick Perry also chimed in:
“As is becoming all too predictable, the Obama Administration is continuing its unprecedented and unconstitutional intrusion into every facet of American life, this time mandating that our religious institutions violate their own beliefs. It has to stop. I commend Attorney General Abbott for taking this much-needed action, part of an ongoing battle over our right to practice our faiths, and live our lives, without Washington interference.”