From: Maggie’s Notebook
Bordlee is counsel for the Bioethics Defense Fund (BDF). The following partial transcript is from Laura Ingraham’s show with guest host Raymond Arroyo and Bordlee:
[BORDLEE] Inside the individual mandate…is the Abortion Premium Mandate, and here’s how they did it. They said, fine we’re not going to have federal funding of abortion, but we want insurance plans to offer abortion coverage, surgical, elective abortion coverage. We will require a separate itemized listing on everyone’s monthly bill and you can’t use your ObamaCare tax credit or subsidies. You have to write a separate check, from your own pocket that goes into the insurance company’s separate fund designated to fully pay for other people’s elective abortions…you cannot decline this coverage for any reason: not because you are a man, not because you are 75 years old, or because you have a religious objection to it. There is no exception if you are in this kind of plan.
[ARROYO] We keep hearing about contraception, that this is all about contraception and denying it to women. It’s actually about abortion and much more, isn’t it?
[BORDLEE] It really is. This is about this administration trampling our liberties, and no matter what you think about the morality of contraception or even the morality of abortion, we can debate all kinds of things in this country, but we should all be able to agree on the founding principle that the State does not impose religious objections onto its citizens – that’s in the First Amendment.
[ARROYO] Let’s talk about the Free Exercise rights that are violated here. There is a religious exemption in this Bill that you’ve discovered. Why does that imperil the law itself?
[BORDLEE] This is something that was developed with the help of a law professor at Catholic University, Prof. Mark Rienze (sp) who is also at the Becket Fund, who has filed suit against the Health and Human Service contraceptive mandate. Once we discovered – did the linguistic ju-jitsu to decode Abortion Premium Mandate, if the Supreme Court said, if you are going to have conduct that violates people’s religious objection, if it is generally applicable across the board, well it’s too bad, [inaudible] you voted for it, but you can’t single out certain religions for exceptions to the exclusion of others. This Bill, very interestingly, and there was no discussion of it the media, this Bill says the individual mandate does not apply to you if you have a religious objection to buy insurance. Now, most people don’t know this but the Amish have a religious objection to buying insurance many times because they believe it shows they don’t trust God. You don’t have to agree with that. That’s their religious belief, and so that was accommodated for the individual mandate. It doesn’t apply to the Amish, however if you have a religious objection to abortion or to paying for other people’s abortion, too bad.
That is a classic violation of the Free Exercise Clause, and that’s what we put before the Court.
[ARROYO] Because they are allowing a religious exemption for one group and denying it for everybody else?
[ARROYO] What if the Court simply says this religious exemption for the Amish is non-Constitutional, because it violates the Free Exercise Clause, therefore we are just going to remove that exemption?
[BORDLEE] They wouldn’t do that because we must always be able to make exemptions for religions.
It’s important to note this: what is before the Court, what the 26-state Attorneys Generals are pleading, is that the individual mandate is in excess of the Commerce Clause. You can’t take the Commerce Clause and say we are now regulating Commerce because some people are not even in the Commerce market, because they aren’t even buying anything.
So this is a very specific question about the Individual Mandate. Our Friend of the Court brief that we filed on behalf of pro-life medical organizations and other groups that do not want to do this, is saying there is an additional reason. The Individual Mandate not only contains Commerce Clause violations, but there are other hidden problems like the First Amendment Free Exercise Clause, so the Court will not rule on this specifically.
What we are gearing up to do, God forbid the U.S. Supreme Court says this thing is fine, it got passed through, it’s still in effect, and Obama wins re-election is: 2014 is when this provision goes into effect, so now we will have a fresh card to get actual plaintiffs who are being forced to violate their conscience, challenge this anew.
[ARROYO] In the meantime, Kathleen Sebelius, the Health and Human Services Secretary, continues to write the law of ObamaCare day-by-day. This is what the whole contraception flap was about.
[BORDLEE] Right. That’s a very important point to make also, that Contraception Mandate – that religious liberty violation – will take effect August 1 of this year. August 1 of this year you will bow to Caesar or you will pay exorbitant fines or lose your employees or lose your health insurance – that’s August 1, 2012.
That’s because in the ObamaCare law itself, it grants Secretary Sebelius, 361 times, it says “this shall be defined by the Secretary.” Remember when Pelosi said we have to pass the Bill to find out what’s in it?” She was right. Sebelius tells us what is in it, and she does it from the Executive Branch without Congressional oversight, without the need for Congressional approval. There will be no townhalls.
This is her decision. Her discretion, arbitrary and capricious. Her’s alone.
[ARROYO] This is really not about abortions solely. This is about abortion, mammograms, cancer screenings, cervical cancer screenings, end of life care, whether someone is 72 or 75 who suddenly contracts cancer – whether they should get certain treatments or medication. We are giving unprecedented discretion to these people. Correct?
[BORDLEE]…they have shoved it through, and the American people rose up and they didn’t want it and now they have some decisions to make this November as to whether they are going to put people in office that repeal it and/or whether we have to turn to the Federal courts to restore our own religious liberty, and by the way, the Contraceptive Mandate also includes coverage for sterilization and abortion-inducing drugs.
Just like the Amish who object to buying insurance, the Buddhists object to eating meat – there are all kinds of things where we can’t understand each other’s moral values in our religions, and we don’t have to. That’s the beauty of being American, that we can have our religious values and they are accepted. I’m not asking anyone to agree with us on our moral findings on abortion, contraception, sterilization.
What we are trying to say is as Americans, through the First Amendment we have religious liberty, and never before in the history of our country, have we ever seen the state come down, as it did, and try to shove conduct on people that violates their deeply held moral belief and conviction.
[ARROYO] There’s a fantastic piece in today’s Wall Street Journal: Meet the ObamaCare Mandate Committee. [I wrote about the WSJ piece here – very scary stuff]. It talks about the Task Force that is assigning mandated procedures and medications and invalidating others. There’s a trade-off.Contraceptives are mandated. Others are denied and you will have no freedom to find them in any other insurance package, because the Federal Government is dictating these packages.
[BORDLEE] That’s right. If you need certain heart pills or cancer medication, you will pay co-pays for these life-saving drugs, but it is mandated that contraceptives, sterilizations and abortions will have no co-pay. We are putting our resources into elective drugs to the denial of life-saving drugs.
At the end of the audio, Arroyo plays a clip from Senator Orrin Hatch questioning Kathleen Sebelius:
Did anyone in the administration consult with the President or his re-election campaign or the Democrat National Committee with any person affiliated with Planned Parenthood or NARAL or the ACLU about the so-called compromise?
Again Senator, I know numerous conversations with religious leaders, with employers, with insurers…I have no idea if the administration talked to anyone.
LifeNews reports that Sebelius did not contact Catholic Bishops. Note that Catholic Bishops have no stronger objection to this invasion of our medical rights than any one of us sitting out here.
More from Senator Hatch in the LifeNews link above:
Hatch asked Sebelius, “I wrote you last July that your proposed contraceptive mandate would be ‘an affront to the natural rights to life, religious liberty and personal conscience.’ I note for the record that your response to my letter completely ignored this issue.
Last October, 27 Senators joined me in writing you again, asking for any analysis requested or obtained by HHS regarding these religious liberty issues. The response from your department completely ignored that request. There were 27 of us who asked for it. The President’s Chief of Staff and Press Secretary have claimed that this mandate is consistent with the First Amendment, and the final rule you issued last Friday states that it is consistent with the First Amendment and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which was the bill that I brought to the Congress. Let me just ask you again, did HHS conduct or request any analysis of the constitutional or statutory religious freedom issues?”
Pity. This is what happens when Congress gives up their rights to write the law. They didn’t read the Bill. What they did read couldn’t compare to the 361 times the legislation gave Sebelius the right to do what she wants to do – after the Bill becomes law – which she has been busily doing. Congress had to know this. Read the Bioethics Defense Fund Friend of the Court brief here and summary here. Thanks to JHPPL News and Notes. Thanks to terrific tipster JudyW.