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CHICAGO, IL - JUNE 30: Sister Caroline attends a rally with other supporters of religious freedom to praise the Supreme Court's decision in the Hobby Lobby, contraception coverage requirement case on June 30, 2014 in Chicago, Illinois. Oklahoma-based Hobby Lobby, which operates a chain of arts-and-craft stores, challenged the provision and the high court ruled 5-4 that requiring family-owned corporations to pay for insurance coverage for contraception under the Affordable Care Act violated a federal law protecting religious freedom. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

By Human Life International Staff, Oct. 6, 2017

Conscientious Affordable Care Act Relief for Christians

Today President Trump overturned the violence perpetrated by the Obama Administration in its direct assault against family, life, and conscience through the “birth control mandate” in the Affordable Care Act (ACA, or Obamacare). Under President Obama, the ACA required all employers provide contraceptives under company health insurance to their staff, without room for conscientious objection. Human Life International (HLI) President Shenan J. Boquet: “The Trump Administration’s willingness to support conscience rights and religious freedoms is heartening to those of us defending faith, marriage, life, family.” He continued:

The Culture of Death is so profoundly narcissistic that it considers the rights of others completely irrelevant. It is unjust to force others to support acts and philosophies they find deeply offensive and immoral. We congratulate President Donald Trump for recognizing the injustice of so-called “free” birth control, which disregarded conscience and religious freedom.

It is refreshing to have a leader who is, with courage and conviction, standing up to the Death Peddlers and their perverse agendas, saying that, “If you want to promote these agendas, you can do so on your own dime, not at the expense of religious freedom and conscience!”

According to “The Hill”, Senior HHS officials who declined to be named said the intent of the rule is to provide “relief” to groups that have been engaged in legal battles over the mandate since its inception in 2012. One stated: ‘We should have space for organizations to live out their religious ideas and not face discrimination because of their religious ideas. That was the case beforehand, and that ends today.’”

Contraceptive Mandate Lifted After Years of Litigation

President Obama’s move had forced dozens of Christian and Catholic companies – such as EWTN Global Catholic Network, Hobby Lobby and even the Little Sisters of the Poor – to go to court to fight against the repression. Twice, according to LifeNews.com, the Supreme Court accepted cases and both times sided respectively with Hobby Lobby and the Sisters of the Poor.

“The court ruled that Hobby Lobby and other similar businesses were protected by the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993, which states that an individual’s religious expression shouldn’t be “substantially burdened” by a law unless there is a ‘compelling government interest.’”

Exemptions Extended for Moral and Religious Objections

The federal rule will permit exemptions in coverage for any employer with religious objections. The Obama Administration alleged it allowed for conscientious objection but, in actuality, the employer’s insurance carrier would still have had to pay for the contraceptive coverage, even if the employer did not. This has not been considered acceptable as it is not a true exemption.

The Trump Administration has even gone a welcome step further. Being reported by numerous sources is that the U.S. government will now allow employers  to exempt themselves on moral as well as religious grounds. The Wall Street Journal quoted the President as saying in May,“For too long, the federal government has used the power of the state as a weapon against people of faith, bullying and even punishing Americans for following their religious beliefs.”

The Trump administration has been quoted in numerous sources as motivated by “our desire to bring to a close the more than five years of litigation over the pro-abortion mandate.”

Mark Rienzi, senior counsel at the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty told USA Today, ““At long last, the United States government has acknowledged that people can get contraceptives without forcing nuns to provide them.”  It should also be noted that while HLI strictly opposes the use of contraceptives as a means of birth control, even with the contraceptive mandate lifted, the government already subsidizes numerous other sources for birth control for low-income women.