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National Review: Unlike the pervasive, confused silence on the issue of elective-abortion coverage reported last October by the Charlotte Lozier Institute, insurance companies now are seemingly able to answer the question, “Do your individual plans offered on the exchange cover elective abortion?” The only problem: Those answers keep changing depending on who’s talking.
Today, the United States Supreme Court officially vacated the 6th Circuit’s decision that denied Autocam Corporation and its owners, protection against governmental violation of Constitutionally protected religious freedoms.
WND: “No one should be forced to choose between their deepest religious convictions and their profession,” said Kristen Waggoner, senior counsel with Alliance Defending Freedom and lead counsel for the plaintiffs challenging the state regulations.
Christian News Network: “No one should be forced to choose between their deepest religious convictions and their profession,” added ADF Senior Counsel Kristen Waggoner in a press release announcing the submission to the court.
National Review: Recall that the first ground on which Ginsburg would have ruled against Hobby Lobby was her (badly misguided) proposition that a for-profit corporation is never a person capable of an exercise of religion within the meaning of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
Pew Research Center: The U.S. public is evenly split in its view of the decision, according to a new survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation. Roughly half of Americans (49%) say they disapprove of the ruling, while a similar share (47%) approve. Neither side seems to feel more strongly than the other: Most people say they feel either “disappointed but not angry” (35%) or “satisfied but not enthusiastic” (35%), and fewer feel “angry” (12%) or “enthusiastic” (11%) about the ruling.
Alliance Defending Freedom: The legal teams who won their cases on behalf of Conestoga Wood Specialties and Hobby Lobby at the U.S. Supreme Court filed a brief this week at the request of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit about the impact of the high court’s decision on a case involving two Washington pharmacists and a pharmacy owner. The 9th Circuit had suspended activity in their lawsuit, Stormans v. Wiesman, until the Supreme Court issued its ruling.
The Federalist: Colorado public health employees have come out with a new study purporting to show that providing free intrauterine devices (IUDs) and contraceptive under-the-skin implants for young women reduces abortion rates and births.
The Christian Institute: Britain’s largest abortion provider has faced criticism for suggesting morning-after pills should be given to new mothers.
Life News: President Barack Obama has nominated a new “Religious Freedom Ambassador,” but his nominee opposes protecting the religious freedoms of the owners of Hobby Lobby, who don’t want to be forced to pay for drugs for their employees that cause abortions.
My State Line: The U.S. Supreme Court voted 5-4 allowing businesses with religious objections to opt out of the new health law requirement requiring insurance coverage for contraceptives.
The Christian Post: The Obama administration is devising a plan that will allow religious nonprofits that object to paying for contraceptives and abortifacients in their healthcare plans and also object to filling out a form that allows a third-party to cover these products and services, to opt out.
ERLC: The White House announced plans on Tuesday to release a new accommodation for non-profit religious groups within the Affordable Care Act’s contraception mandate. A senior White House official explained, “This is part of ensuring that all women have access to contraception coverage.”
Life News: The Obama administration may back down somewhat on the pro-abortion HHS mandate that compels religious groups and businesses to pay for abortion-causing drugs and birth control for their employees after losing its battle against Hobby Lobby at the Supreme Court.
Washington Examiner: Misplaced balance is a major problem in today’s media. One politician says something completely false, and another points out that the false thing is false — and the media report it as a dispute. Better to point out that the false thing is false.
ABC News: The Obama administration is developing a new way for religious nonprofits that object to paying for contraceptives in their health plans to opt out, without submitting a form they say violates their religious beliefs.
Juicy Ecumenism: What will be left of the First Amendment in this brave, new, sexually-liberated world?
Life News: There is one argument against the Hobby Lobby decision that is driving me crazy maybe because it is going unchallenged on Facebook pages and comboxes all over. It goes like this: if Hobby Lobby can deny health insurance coverage for birth control, then what will stop a company owned by other religious nut jobs from denying blood transfusions, chemotherapy, or inhalers for asthma?
Christianity Today: Widespread acceptance in our culture of all forms of birth control, including abortion, makes it harder for the Christian to discern if, when, and how to incorporate such practices into one’s own life, as well as what place personal convictions have in community and in public policy.
Deseret News: The propaganda wars that have ensued following the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in the Hobby Lobby case show no signs of abating as supporters and critics of the decision lay out their interpretations of what it means.
Josh Brahm: Here are the six most helpful resources I know of for trying to assess whether or not birth control pills and/or Plan B definitely cause abortions.
Life News: The Senate Democrats, led by Patty Murray, have called for an immediate vote on S. 2578, disingenuously titled the Protect Women’s Health from Corporate Interference Act. It should be known for what it is, the Anti-Religious Freedom bill.
WRIC: Michelle Hui’s world was turned upside down when she miscarried on her way to work. But little did she know that she was actually expecting twins – and one of them went on to survive, even after she took abortion pills prescribed to avoid infection.
The Christian Post: The Hobby Lobby ruling by the Supreme Court, though considered a win by Christians, actually speaks to the narrowing of religious freedom in America.
Kerri Kupec discusses McCullen v Coakley and Conestoga Wood Specialties v Burwell with Zeb Bell (audio)
BRnow: The Alliance Defending Freedom criticized the Protect Women’s Health From Corporate Interference Act, S. 2578, as “an exceedingly dangerous power grab.”
National Review: The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops today sent a letter to U.S. senators outlining its strong opposition to the “Protect Women’s Health from Corporate Interference Act of 2014,” i.e. the bill proposed by Senators Patty Murray (D., Wash.) and Mark Udall (D., Colo.) to gut religious-freedom protections in the wake of the Hobby Lobby decision.
National Review: A Democratic effort to reverse the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby ruling “does not befit a nation committed to religious liberty,” according to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, who noted that the bill would undermine an array of conscience protections beyond the contraception issue.
The Washington Post: In the wake of the Supreme Court’s 5-to-4 ruling that, as a closely held company, Hobby Lobby was not required to pay for all of the birth-control procedures mandated by the Affordable Care Act, Democrats have rushed to condemn the court. But in some cases the rhetoric has gotten way ahead of the facts.
National Review: As Justice Sotomayor’s dissent recognizes, Wheaton believes that filling out HHS’s Form 700, which instructs its third-party administrator to provide all of the regulation-ordered contraceptives, makes it complicit in potentially killing a human being. (Several of the required contraceptives may prevent implantation of a fertilized egg, thus causing the death of a human embryo.) This is Wheaton’s religious belief, and Justice Sotomayor doesn’t question the college’s sincerity or beliefs, at least not in those terms.
Life News: Americans typically despise all three branches of government and, whether it’s legislative, executive or judicial, approval ratings for each are typically int he toilet. But there’s good news for the Supreme Court.
Alliance Defending Freedom: “No new law should make an HHS bureaucrat more powerful than federal law itself. Senate Bill 2578 should be called the ‘Late-Term Abortion and Assisted Suicide Coercion Act of 2014’ because it allows any whim of HHS to trump any federal law or rule, including those that protect Americans from being forced to provide abortion or assisted suicide coverage as part of a health plan. The bill clearly states that any HHS regulation requiring something in a health plan must be followed regardless of what any other federal law says. That’s an exceedingly dangerous power grab that no American should support.”
Public Discourse: Contra Justice Ginsburg, the Hobby Lobby decision is no cause for alarm. Yet we should acknowledge and address a fear she highlights: the serious obstacles women face today in the realms of sex, marriage, and parenthood.
The Federalist: To rely on government to mandate contraceptive coverage is to give government the power to control contraception.
USA Today: Two Michigan-based companies — Eden Foods and Autocam — were part of a nationwide push to broaden the scope of freedom given to business owners to decide the health care benefits of their employees, and they’ll play a role in how a landmark Supreme Court ruling is defined.
Life News: As promised, Senate Democrats filed legislation today to “overturn” the Supreme Court’s decision protecting Hobby Lobby and other companies from being forced to comply with the HHS mandate that compels them to pay for abortion-causing drugs for their employees.
The Gospel Coalition: What do the contraceptives say about themselves? Each of the four pills or devices in question have their own websites full of medical information provided by the manufacturer and/or the Food and Drug Administration.
Contraception that kills – The scientific evidence that some FDA-approved contraceptives can end the life of a human being
National Review: Can some FDA-approved “contraceptives” end the life of a human embryo? This question is at the heart of the Hobby Lobby decision. It is a scientific question for which there is a clear scientific answer.
Patheos blog, Get Religion: Greg Scott is vice president of media communications for the Alliance Defending Freedom, which represents Conestoga Wood Specialties. His response to the Forbesstory, shared with GetReligion: When all of the sources represent the furthest extreme on one side of an issue, you’re not likely to get anything but the hysteria represented by that piece. The sources are uniformly hostile to the constitutionally protected free exercise of faith and completely distort what constitutes unlawful discrimination. The case has nothing to do with whether anyone has “access” to potentially abortion-inducing drugs and contraception.
The Christian Post: With 13,000 employees, Hobby Lobby faces a fine of $1,300,000 per day ($100 per employee) if it offers a health plan that doesn’t cover all 20 contraceptive drugs and devices contained in the HHS mandate. Conestoga, with approximately 950 employees, faces a fine of $95,000 per day, or $34,675,000 per year.
Daily Caller: Just from a purely financial perspective, rather than being an option that is “approximately the same price,” this alternative is one that could cost the company millions of dollars each year. Hardly a cost-neutral alternative.
Public Discourse: “Were you lying then, or are you lying now?” So asks an outraged defense lawyer in the great courtroom drama Witness for the Prosecution, when his star murder witness reverses her testimony. In light of recent events, some may want to ask the same question of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG).
The Christian Post: Matt Bowman, senior counsel with the Alliance Defending Freedom, has served as an attorney for Conestoga Woods Specialties, who alongside Hobby Lobby, have sued the federal government to be exempt from the Health and Human Services’ “preventive services mandate” that requires businesses to cover birth control that can lead to the early termination of a pregnancy.
Mere Orthodoxy: It’s worth pointing out that this has nothing to do with any of the legal arguments that Hobby Lobby has pursued the last few years. Hypocrites still have their right to religious liberty, after all, and thank the Lord for it.
Religion Clause: In Eternal Word Television Network v. Burwell, (SD AL, June 17, 2014), an Alabama federal district court granted summary judgment to Department of Health and Human Services, rejecting a Catholic media network’s challenges to the rules accommodating religious non-profits’ objections to the Affordable Care Act contraceptive coverage mandate.
National Review: Last week, the Guttmacher Institute released an analysis of the recent decline in the incidence of abortion. Overall, the abortion rate declined by an impressive 13 percent between 2008 and 2011 and reached its lowest level since 1973. This Guttmacher analysis joins a chorus of pundits — including Andrew Sullivan — who were quick to credit contraception for this decline in the abortion rate. And like most Guttmacher studies, this analysis is quick to downplay pro-life laws and other pro-life efforts.
National Review: This month a rural Oregon school districtannounced its decision to offer condoms to children as young as 11. The new policy was adopted in part because, according to a memo from the superintendent, “every few years, a middle school student either becomes pregnant or is associated with a pregnancy.” The rationale is flimsy, but it speaks to the wider trend of pushing the envelope when it comes to giving kids contraception in school.
Religion News Service: More than four in 10 Americans support the Obama administration’s controversial contraception mandate, which requires nonprofits and businesses to provide birth control even if they have religious objections.
RNS: Three issues — sex between an unmarried man and woman, medical research on embryonic stem cells and doctor-assisted suicide — showed a slight increase in acceptability from 2013. Most of the other issues were mostly unchanged.
Harvard Law Review: We make three basic claims. First, corporate law does not discourage for-profit corporations from advancing religion. Second, such businesses do not undermine the goals of corporate law, nor would it undermine such goals to grant these firms religious exemptions from otherwise neutral laws in appropriate cases. Third, given the plausible reasons for protecting religious exercise by for-profit corporations, there is no reason to reject the most natural reading of RFRA’s text, namely that “person” includes private corporations of all kinds.
The Washington Times: The conservative Media Research Center has filed a lawsuit against the Obama administration seeking an exemption from Obamacare’s contraception, sterilization and abortion-pill mandate.
Washington Examiner: There’s the individual mandate, the employer mandate, and the “contraceptive” mandate in Obamacare. Now get ready for the full-fledged abortion mandate.
Religion Clause: Yesterday the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit heard oral arguments in Priests for Life v. Department of Health and Human Services and in Roman Catholic Archbishop of Washington v. Sebelius.
Break Point: Do you think the battle for religious freedom is over? Well, think again. One state is considering mandating abortion coverage.
The Christian Post: Last week, The Daily Telegraph reported that doctors and nurses in the UK who have religious or moral objections to supplying “morning-after” pills are being discriminated against. Now, similar reports are rising in the U.S.
The Christian Post: In addition to carefully considering the available birth control options (and their possible abortifacient effects), one author argues that we ought to consider natural family planning.
WND: Dobson continues to celebrate victory over [former Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen] Sebelius and the Obama administration.
Christianity Today: An American Catholic student group has won a court exemption from rules that would have forced them to provide contraception as part of their employee health insurance.
The reach of this abortion mandate would be extensive, because current federal laws require almost all insurance plans to cover maternity services. Washington State stands ready to require almost every business in the state to cover elective abortions.
ALLIANCE DEFENDING FREEDOM NEWS RELEASE April 23, 2014 – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT MEDIA AND PUBLIC RELATIONS: (480) 444-0020 or www.adfmedia.org/home/contact Court halts abortion pill mandate for Catholic university student outreach ADF represents Colorado-based fellowship DENVER — A federal court …
Joanne Moudy at Townhall: “The lawsuit was filed by Alliance Defending Freedom, on behalf of Dr. Dobson, a noted Christian psychologist, and his ‘Family Talk’ radio show. According to ADF, the court granted an injunction against the abortion pill mandate, although it’s likely the decision will be appealed by the federal government.”
Brian Simboli at Crisis: “This essay makes two points. First, the Catholic tradition holds that even when there is medical dispute about whether contraceptives act as abortifacients, morality requires that one should treat them as having these effects. Second, the pro-life community, on balance, has hardly yet addressed the serious implications of this principle.”
Russell Shaw at Catholic World Report: “The outline—the blueprint, you might say—of the human capacity for fulfillment is found in basic human goods. These are the fundamental purposes for which human beings choose and act. Moral good and moral evil reside precisely in how we choose to relate to them. Obviously it isn’t possible always to pursue all of them. But it is possible—and of the essence of moral goodness—that one never directly choose to act against any. Yet someone who understands what he or she is doing in an act of contraception unavoidably wills and acts against the human good of procreation, though very likely with some other good in view. And that, very briefly, is why contraception is wrong.”
Donna Harrison at National Review: “Is there any evidence that an embryo formed during the use of a certain kind of contraceptive drug or device might face an environment in which the embryo is likely to be damaged or destroyed? The answer depends on the kind of contraceptive drug or device used.”