After campaigning on the promise that he would drop the government’s defense of the troublesome HHS mandate requiring that employers provide insurance coverage for contraception, including contraceptives that are abortifacients, Trump has now decided to continue to defend the mandate. Religious organizations, including the Little Sisters of the Poor, a Roman Catholic community of women religious dedicated to the care of cancer patients, have sued the government on the grounds that the mandate is a violation of religious liberty, essentially forcing them to financially support what is contrary to their religious principles. They face crippling fines if they refuse to provide the coverage. The Supreme Court basically decided not to rule on the matter last year, sending it back to the parties to negotiate a compromise satisfactory to both sides, one that would both respect the religious beliefs of the plaintiffs while providing low or no cost birth control to their female employees.
Catholics and others had taken Trump on his word that he would drop defense of the mandate, thus relieving them of the requirements of the mandate, the looming threat of fines, and the resources necessary to continue the fight. The mandate is as clear a violation of religious liberty as any, so it’s not clear to me, at least, why the government persists in its defense. As well, the government has exempted numerous other institution, including the military, from the mandate, so the argument that the mandate is needed in order to provide equal access to health care is clearly specious.
Trump has broken a promise. That’s not surprising to those of us who had little trust in him in the first place. But, the lack of surprise doesn’t diminish the disappointment and the seriousness of our government continuing to waste resources arguing for what is almost certainly a losing cause and a clear affront to a basic liberty.
I encourage you to write or call your Senator and Representative and also the White House to let your concerns known.
Be Christ for all. Bring Christ to all. See Christ in all.