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Doctors to Obama: You've failed again

Members of the Christian Medical Association had harsh words for Barack Obama after his latest attempt to mandate abortion coverage in Obamacare: You have failed.

“This latest version of the contraceptives and sterilization mandate remains unacceptable,” said Dr. David Stevens, executive director of the Christian Medical Association. “Since when does the government get to pick and choose which groups will get to enjoy First Amendment protections?

“Our founders intended the First Amendment to protect every American’s freedom to act according to one’s conscience,” he said. “They didn’t specify that only groups deemed religious will be afforded this protection; freedom of conscience applies equally to all Americans.”

Dr. Gene Rudd, CMA executive vice president, joined Stevens.

“The administration fails to understand that many employers and individual Americans, regardless of a religious label or not, maintain strong conscience objections to participating in any, way, shape or form in a plan that promotes pills that the FDA says can cause the demise of a living human embryo – a developing baby in her earliest stage,” Rudd said.

“It would appear that the administration is trying to diffuse the pressure from federal courts around the country by throwing a sop to religious groups,” Stevens added. “If administration officials think that this action will somehow cause us to back down and accept the terms of surrender, well, that’s just not going to happen. We all plan to stand united in the fight to ensure that everyone’s First Amendment freedoms of religion and conscience are protected.”

Rudd cited Thomas Jefferson’s assertion that “our rules can have authority over such natural rights only as we have submitted to them.”

“The rights of conscience we never submitted, we could not submit. We are answerable for them to our God,” Jefferson said.

The unusually strong reaction followed the administration’s announcement that in addition to churches and synagogues, other organizations and service providers could be exempted from Obama’s mandate that employers provide health insurance coverage that includes abortifacients.

In its announcement, the federal Health and Human Services Department proposed a new “accommodation” for religious, non-profit organizations and companies that object to providing insurance coverage for contraceptive and abortion-inducing services based on their religious beliefs.

But there are still no protections for religious business owners.

“We’re extremely disappointed that the Obama administration does not respect the religious beliefs of all Americans,” said Francis Manion, senior counsel of the American Center for Law and Justice.

“This country’s laws and Constitution protect the religious freedom of all Americans, whether organized into religious bodies or not. Religious believers who simply want to conduct their businesses in a manner consistent with their religious beliefs have the same right to religious liberty as everybody else,” he said.

The legal team already has four lawsuits on behalf of companies owned by Christians, and in those cases judges have issued injunctions preventing the application of the law.

“Courts in 10 different cases have already granted injunctions that prohibit the Obama administration from enforcing the mandate against for-profit business owners,” said Manion. “That’s because those courts have recognized what the Obama administration apparently refuses to accept – that the mandate tramples on religious freedom in violation of the law. Today’s failed attempt to fully address this issue shows that the Obama administration has not yet gotten the message being sent loud and clear by the courts.”

Paul E. Rondeau, executive director of the American Life League, said if Obama “is a so-called constitutional scholar – as his supporters in the media portray him – then his law school should be embarrassed.”

“In 80 pages of legalese and gobbledygook, this administration fails to recognize the constitutionally protected freedom of conscience that all Americans – not just religious organizations as defined by the IRS – are guaranteed in their personal lives and in the workplace,” Rondeau said.

A statement from the Alliance Defending Freedom said food pantries, shelters, crisis pregnancy centers and relief organizations are left unhelped.

And a statement from Eric Scheidler and Monica Miller, co-directors of the nationwide Stand Up for Religious Freedom rallies, said: “It’s unconscionable that employees and students at an institution like Ave Maria University, which upholds the unchanging Catholic doctrine that contraception assaults human dignity, would receive free contraceptives thanks to their employment or enrollment there. More disturbingly still, businesses like Hobby Lobby, which are not dedicated to a specifically religious purpose but which nevertheless operate upon a basis of faith, are offered no protection whatsoever for their religious and moral objections to providing these services. The Obama administration is still claiming the right to decide who gets to exercise freedom of religion in the public square.”

WND previously reported the Washington bureaucrats who want to require employers to fund abortifacients even if it violates their faith apparently weren’t even able to follow their own rules.

A legal challenge to the Obamacare mandate for abortifacient coverage, filed by the American Center for Law and Justice on behalf an Ohio family whose members run two companies processing and hauling fresh produce, explains the problem.

“The Affordable Care Act expressly delegates to the Health Resources and Services Administration … the authority to establish ‘preventive care’ guidelines that a group health plan and health insurance issuer must abide by,” says the lawsuit.

“Given this express delegation, defendants were obliged to engage in formal notice and comment rulemaking as prescribed by law before defendants issued the guidelines,” the complaint states. “Proposed regulations were required to be published in the Federal Register and interested persons were required to be given a chance to take part in the rulemaking through the submission of written data, views, or arguments.”

The Obama administration, however, “promulgated the ‘preventive care’ guidelines without engaging in the formal notice and comment rulemaking as prescribed by law.”

The complaint says the defendants “delegated the responsibilities for issuing ‘preventive care’ guidelines to a non-governmental entity, the Institute of Medicine, which did not permit or provide for broad public comment.”

That violation is on top of the clear violations by Obamacare of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, the First Amendment’s Free Exercise Clause and the Free Speech Clause, the complaint says.

The complaint contends the government is not allowed under the Constitution to force the business owners to buy health insurance for employees that includes coverage for contraception, sterilization and abortion-inducing drugs.

While business owners argue the government cannot order them to violate their faith, the government says it can.

“The contraceptive-coverage requirement does not impose a substantial burden on any exercise of religious by Hercules Industries or the [owners],” the government attorneys told the appeals court.

“It is common ground that a religious organization can engage in the exercise of religion, and other federal statutes grant religious organizations the prerogative to discriminate on the basis of religion in the terms and conditions of employment. But Hercules Industries is not a religious organization. It is a for-profit employer that manufactures HVAC equipment.

“Thus, Hercules Industries’ plan must afford the company’s employees and their family members the employee benefits required by law,” the attorneys said.

But what about companies based on the owners’ religious beliefs?

Too bad, the federal attorneys said.

“The personal religious beliefs of the corporation’s officers and controlling shareholders, the Newlands, cannot provide a basis for the Hercules Industries plan,” they wrote.

Leaders of a number of religious-advocacy groups are warning of the Obamacare contraception mandate consequences for business owners of faith: