Throughout the United States, Christians are gathering at federal buildings at noon local time today to protest the Health & Human Services mandate that would require that contraceptives, surgical sterilizations and abortion inducing drugs be provided without co-pay under the Affordable Care Act (known to many as "ObamaCare").
According to the rally site, the mandate will force religious institutions to provide drugs that will "interfere with implantation in the womb and therefore destroy the life of a human being in the earliest stage of development." The groups behind the rally take issue with the notion of "preventative services," writing:
Religious groups urged the IOM (Institute of Medicine) to not include sterilization and contraceptive services in the Mandate. Undeterred, in July 2011 the IOM made recommendations that included the two services, and the government adopted them in August of 2011.
Referring the details of these “preventive” services to the IOM was apparently intended to provide an appearance of scientific objectivity to the enactment of the HHS Mandate. However, Research conducted by Human Life International has revealed that every member of the IOM committee heavily biased in favor of legalized abortion—some with direct ties to abortion advocacy groups. Not a single member was pro-life, much less had any qualms about contraception and sterilization.
President Obama's compromise, which would require that the insurers directly provide these drugs and services, is not acceptable to the groups behind the rally because they say that it still violates religious freedom:
Religious employers are exempt only if their purpose is to inculcate religious doctrine, they hire and serve mainly people of their own faith, and they qualify as a church or religious order according to a very narrow definition in the tax code.
Most religious institutions providing health, educational or charitable services to others have no protection. Not even Jesus and the apostles would have qualified for this exemption.[…]
In the so-called accommodation, insurance companies—not the religious employers themselves—would be forced to pay for the abortion-inducing drugs, sterilization, and contraception. However, since any funds the insurance companies would use to make such payments ultimately come from the premiums paid by employers, Obama’s “accommodation” is nothing more than a kind of economic shell-game.
In addition, it provides not even this inadequate accounting trick for self-insured religious institutions, which number in the hundreds if not thousands.
In the final analysis, the so-called “accommodation” still forces religious institutions to provide employees with health plans covering free “services” that violate their religious convictions—or face crippling fines should they refuse.
Numerous Catholic bishops, as well as religious right and anti-abortion groups such as the Alliance Defense Fund, Priests for Life, Operation Rescue, Concerned Women for America, Faith and Action, and the Thomas More Society are among the dozens of backers of the Stand Up for Religious Freedom Rally. They invite non-religious people to participate, too.