Tomorrow, the government’s liberty-crushing mandate that has elicited widespread outcry and led a federal judge to grant a preliminary injunction against the rule for a for-profit business will officially take effect.
On August 1, Obamacare’s preventive health services mandate will be implemented, and with it the Health and Human Services (HHS) anti-conscience mandate. After Wednesday, nearly all employers will be forced, at the beginning of their next health plan year, to pay for coverage of abortion-inducing drugs, contraception, and sterilization—regardless of moral or religious objections.
Despite the false assurances of the Obama Administration and supporters of the mandate, few employers will ultimately escape the rule’s coercive requirements.
The offensively narrow religious exemption included in the mandate effectively covers only formal houses of worship, leaving countless organizations—from schools and hospitals to soup kitchens—completely unprotected. Insinuating that faith should remain behind closed doors, not influencing or motivating the care for others, this mandate assaults the right to the free exercise of religion.
Among the many employers who do not meet the Administration’s narrow religious exemption, some may be able to get a one-year reprieve from the HHS mandate under the Administration’s “temporary safe-harbor” provision. Non-profit religious employers are eligible for the safe harbor only if they meet the Administration’sfour-part test.
Even then, the temporary safe harbor only delays the inevitable, merely giving religious employers an extra 12 months to silence their consciences and get in line with the government’s mandate. Many religious employers and all for-profit employers will not qualify for the safe harbor and will be subject to the HHS mandate as of August 1, 2012.