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Protect Religious Rights of ConsciencePosted Monday, February 13, 2012, at 1:24 PM
The United States' Constitution provides for freedom of speech and freedom of religion. These rights are the heart of our nation's foundation and cherished by Americans, but they have recently been challenged by President Obama and Obamacare. Under regulations that are implementing Obamacare, religious-affiliated hospitals, clinics, and schools would have to offer insurance coverage for contraceptives, sterilization, morning after pills, and other services to prevent unwanted pregnancies. As a father and a Christian, I believe this is not only unconstitutional, but morally wrong and it should not stand.
This week, I signed a letter with over 150 Members of Congress asking the Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to reconsider and suspend the final rule until she can explain to us her rational behind this regulation and ensure that employers and individuals are afforded their constitutionally protected conscience rights. I also signed on as a co-sponsor of H.R. 1179, the Respect for Rights of Conscience Act. This bill will amend the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), which many refer to as Obamacare, so that a health plan can decline coverage of specific items and services that conflict with the religious beliefs of the entity offering the plan. This is one more step to repealing Obamacare in full and preserving our constitutional rights.
President Obama announced today that religious entities will not be mandated to provide free contraceptive, sterilization, and abortion inducing drug coverage for their employees, but the insurance companies will be required to reach out to these employees and offer them these services. While this seems like a change in policy, I'm not convinced it's anything more than smoke and mirrors. At the end of the day, the religious employer may not be explicitly offering contraceptive services, but they are still paying for the insurance policy from the insurance company that offers these free services to its employees. How is that protecting the rights conscience if they are still paying for these services? I will continue to stand by faith-based organizations and fight this policy until the freedom of speech and religion is guaranteed.
I believe that life is precious, and we must encourage and support healthy pregnancies and babies to further strengthen American families. With today's advancements in technology, you can actually see a baby move and grow inside the mother. It's truly amazing to watch these little lives develop before they are ever delivered. Children are our future and supporting their chance at life is an investment in our nation. As a pro-life member of Congress, I believe that life begins at conception and that abortion is not an option. Defending the right to life is a priority for me, and I will continue to support every effort to stop the multitudes of abortions that occur every year.
In other activities this week, I participated in a House Financial Services Committee hearing on the collapse of MF Global. I had the opportunity to question Michael Roseman, the Chief Risk Officer at MF Global, who left the company in January 2011. Below is a video:
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Stephen Fincher is the U.S. Representative for Tennessee's 8th congressional district.
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