Lipinski Condemns Administration's Violation of Conscience Rights in New Rule

Today, Congressman Dan Lipinski (D-IL) issued the following statement condemning the Obama administration’s refusal to provide a reasonable exception for religious organizations to a new rule requiring insurance coverage of contraception and abortion-inducing drugs. The rule, which violates the conscience rights of countless individuals, implements a provision in the health care law passed in 2010, which Congressman Lipinski voted against.

"This decision violates the long-standing tradition of protection for conscience rights in federal law, constitutes mandated coverage of abortion, and forces unbearable choices for those who are pro-life. The only exemption the rule provides is so narrow that it would not extend beyond church ministers and administrators, leaving out countless religiously affiliated employers such as Catholic schools, hospitals, and charitable organizations. Under the very narrow definition of a religious institution in this rule, even Jesus would not receive an exemption because his ministry involved more than just religious instruction and he did not only minister to those of his faith.

"As a result of this rule, all employers and health insurance plans will be required to cover – at no charge to the individual – existing drugs that terminate a pregnancy after conception. Requiring all employers to provide abortifacient drugs to their employees is an unwarranted and unjustifiable attack on freedom of conscience, that most fundamental of American values. To demand a reasonable exception to this rule is not to take anything away from anyone – it is to guarantee the freedom to live in accordance with one’s beliefs about life and its intrinsic value. Moreover, while it has long been clear that the President’s executive order was unfortunately insufficient to prevent the health care law’s departure from the status quo with regard to abortion, this rule violates the spirit of that order and furnishes yet another argument against the law itself."