As physicians and Members of Congress we were deeply disappointed in President Obama’s new so-called "contraception mandate," including his decision to coerce employers into providing coverage for medications that terminate human life.
Legal experts say this ruling is a direct violation of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, signed into law by President Clinton in 1993. That law "prohibited government action that has the effect of substantially burdening religious practice." To comply with the Administration’s latest ruling, religious-affiliated employers face three options: act against their religious beliefs and help terminate human life, drop all employees from health coverage, or exclude Americans of other faiths from employment or charitable services. The Obama administration cannot demonstrate a compelling government interest to justify this attack on freedom of speech and religion, so it refuses to do so.
The new mandate will require employers to offer emergency contraception drugs with no copayment, including ulipristal acetate. Premium costs will increase, as will the total cost of ObamaCare as religious employers are forced to drop coverage for their employees, but the end result is even more troubling. Like RU486, ulipristal acetate or Ella, is a selective progesterone receptor modulator. By blocking progesterone receptors, it can destroy a pregnancy and prevent implantation of a human embryo. In 2010, the American Association of Pro Life Obstetricians & Gynecologists cited several studies documenting these effects in written comments to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
By pandering to groups who profit from abortion-on-demand, President Obama has even managed to alienate Americans who once supported his 2010 law. One Senate Democrat called the recent mandate "un-American." Another former House Democrat mentioned the ruling as a reason she regretted voting for Obamacare. The President should reverse the ruling and respect religious freedoms enshrined in our First Amendment.
Beyond this egregious mandate, Obamacare endangers human life in several ways, including the President’s new Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB). Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius insisted this panel may not "ration" seniors’ medical care, before admitting this word remains undefined in the law. She has not announced any plan to define the term in regulations. By slashing payments below costs, IPAB will delay or block seniors’ access to life-saving treatments.
It’s time to repeal the 2010 health law, once and for all, and replace it with solutions that lower costs while protecting the lives of all Americans, and respecting First Amendment freedoms.
Congressman Phil Gingrey, M.D. (GA-11) is chairman of the GOP Doctors Caucus and a pro-life OB/GYN with over 25 years of experience. Rep. Gingrey serves on the Energy and Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Health.
Congressman Charles Boustany is a retired heart surgeon. He was elected to Congress in 2004 and serves as Oversight Subcommittee chairman on the House Ways and Means Committee.