Republicans Want ‘to Use the Excuse of Religious Freedom’ to Harm
– House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said on Thursday that
Republicans in Congress want “to use the excuse of religious freedom”
an action that will harm women’s health--in rolling back the regulation
will compel all health-care plans to cover sterilizations and all
contraceptives including those that cause abortion.
mandate, as part of Obamacare, was finalized on Jan. 20 and is set to
effect on Aug. 1. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Orthodox
Christian bishops, leading Protestant pastors, and more than 158
Congress have denounced the regulation and several lawsuits have been
challenging its constitutionality.
Pelosi is a Catholic, she strongly defends the regulation, which would
Catholic individuals to pay for health insurance that covers actions
to their faith, e.g., abortion-inducing drugs (“Morning After” pill).
the rule, issued by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS),
“sad one,” said Pelosi, because “the overwhelming practice is going in
At a press
conference on Capitol Hill today, Pelosi was asked, “Republicans have
are going to introduce legislation to repeal the decision by HHS, in
religious institutions and contraceptives.
Do you support the Administration on
this decision and what is your
response to Republicans saying the move is actually unconstitutional?”
said, “I certainly do support the president’s decision. Just for a
history, as you may know and remember during the Affordable Care Act
the decisions that were made there, a waiver was given to Catholic
to have to include coverage for contraception for their employees
those working for Catholic churches.
there’s a move to, for some, to expand that to universities and
indeed, they have even said they want this to apply to all employers --
just Catholic employers -- to all employers,” said Pelosi.
about women’s health,” she said.
The USCCB also
said that the Obama administration, “to justify its widely-criticized
for contraception and sterilization coverage in private health plans,
posted a set of false and misleading claims on the White House blog
Reform, Preventive Services, and Religious Institutions,” Feb. 1).
said, “There’s one thing, one of the things that is a priority for all,
women in Congress, many of the Catholic women in Congress, is the
American women. This
is about the
privacy and right of families to determine whether they want to use
contraception to determine the size and the timing of their having
the size and timing of their families.
this is an issue, 98 percent of Catholics, they tell us, use
overwhelming numbers of people in our country support the president’s
including, they tell us, at least you all tell us, a majority of
said Pelosi. “So I
support it. If it
comes to the floor we’ll use this as a
welcome debate to talk about the importance of women’s health.”
not just about the women,” Pelosi said.
“It’s about their children and the
health of their families as they make
serious decisions and use contraception to determine, as I said, the
timing of their families. That
will be a
debate that we welcome.”
“It’s a sad
one,” she concluded. “We
to be to a place where people are saying—when the overwhelming practice
going in favor of women’s health—‘we want to pull that back.’ And use the excuse of
which, of course, this is not.”
has called upon the Obama administration to rescind the regulation in
entirety. Republicans in the House and Senate are writing legislation
the rule. In the
Senate on Thursday,
Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) refused to allow debate on an
block the regulation.
founders believed so strongly that the government should neither
religion, nor prevent its free exercise that they listed it as the very
item in the Bill of Rights,” said Senate Minority Leader Mitch
(R-Ky.) in response to the Democrats’ actions. “And Republicans are
today to reaffirm that basic right. But Democrats won’t allow it. They
allow those of us who were sworn to uphold the U.S. Constitution to
an amendment that says we believe in our First Amendment right to
freedom. .... I’ve spent a lot of time in my life defending the First
Amendment. But I never thought I’d see the day when the elected
of the people of this country would be blocked by a majority party in
to even express their support for it.”
when asked by CNSNews.com about the regulation, Rep. Pelosi said, “I am
to stick with my fellow Catholics in supporting the administration.”
“I think it
was a very courageous decision that they made, and I support it,” she
Minority Leader’s remarks came during a press conference in support of
Disclose Act, and was joined by Rep. Chris Van Hollen (R-Md.), Rep.
Ellison (D-Minn.) and Rep. Steve Israel (D-N.Y.).
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