Washington, DC - The Little Sisters of the Poor were denied an exemption from Obamacare. The denial was upheld by a federal court recently. The president's signature legislation allows for exemptions. For example, the nation's union leadership balked when they were pressed to conform to the law, but now they are praising the Affordable Care Act perhaps because they were granted the exemptions they sought.
"After all, labor is an important voting bloc for Mr. Obama's party. Not so, the Little Sisters of the Poor. How many votes can they bring to the table," religious rights advocate Dan Weber noted.
Weber, who is president of the Association of Mature American Citizens, is up in arms over what he calls "a blatant violation of the First Amendment," which guarantees Freedom of Religion.
"Here's a group of sincere individuals who have sacrificed their lives in order to care for the elderly and the infirm. They do it because it's what God wants them to do and because it is the right thing to do. They are devout and so they adhere to the tenets of their religion - one of which is the responsibility to protect human life. They believe that human life begins at the moment of conception and so they cannot be a party to preventing human life to begin. Nor can they not be a party to the termination of a life whether it is an infant in a crib or a fetus in a womb. The president does not care. His law forces them to ignore their responsibility to practice their religion freely."
The Sisters challenged Obamacare because the law would force them to offer their employees health insurance that provides free contraceptives and abortion drugs. The government offered them options to comply, including a way to let their insurance company provide that part of employee coverage. The religious order said they couldn't do that as a matter of conscience because, under that scenario, they would still be a party to the transaction. And so they sued and lost.
Meanwhile, the unions got what they wanted. In 2013, they railed against Obamacare. A letter written and signed by the heads of three powerful unions stated: "On behalf of the millions of working men and women we represent and the families they support, we can no longer stand silent in the face of elements of the Affordable Care Act that will destroy the very health and wellbeing of our members along with millions of other hardworking Americans."
But by the time the Supreme Court upheld the healthcare law for a second time in June, the unions, having gotten their exemptions from the law, endorsed the Affordable Care Act. "They offered high praise, indeed, because they got relief, including a way to grandfather union healthcare plans that don't comply with Obamacare. They also got an exemption from a tax on so-called Cadillac insurance plans," according to the AMAC chief.
"Meanwhile, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver, which ruled against the Little Sisters of the Poor, had the temerity to tell the nuns, in effect, that they should ignore their consciences; that they should let the government handle the birth control and abortion issues they were confronting. But, of course, they would still be complicit in a conspiracy to get around God's law. The last time I looked, that is a clear and present infringement of their rights under the Constitution. Perhaps the nine Justices of the Supreme will search their consciences and determine that the Bill of Rights protects our right to practice all of our religious beliefs, not just a few of them."