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Will Mandate Derail Obama's Chances of Re-Election?


JOAN FRAWLEY DESMOND

Source:
Nat. Cath. Register
Type:
Media/Opinion
Date:
2/5/2012

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ABSTRACTWill the HHS Contraception Mandate Derail Obama's Chances of Re-Election? | Daily News | NCRegister.com Print Edition:  April 8, 2012   Donate Archives Blogs Store Resources Advertise Jobs Radio Subscribe Make This My Homepage Resources Christmas Music Arts & Entertainment Books Commentary Culture of Life Education In Person News Opinion Sunday Guides Travel Vatican Dan Burke Edward Pentin Mark Shea Matthew Warner Jimmy Akin Matt & Pat Archbold Simcha Fisher Tito Edwards Jennifer Fulwiler Steven D. Greydanus Tim Drake Tom Wehner Our Latest Show About the Show About the Register Donate Subscribe Stations Schedule Other EWTN Shows Advertising Overview Editorial Calendar Order Web Ad Order Print Ad Print Article | Email Article | Write To Us Daily News Daily News Will the HHS Contraception Mandate Derail Obama's Chances of Re-Election? (4858) Two weeks after HHS Secretary Sebelius approved the controversial final rule, Speaker Boehner and Romney take up religious liberty issue. Share by JOAN FRAWLEY DESMOND 02/05/2012 Comments (35) House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) speaks during his weekly on-camera news conference on Capitol Hill Feb. 2 in Washington. Boehner said President Obama should reconsider a decision to compel church-affiliated employers to cover birth control in their health care plans. – Pete Marovich/Getty Images WASHINGTON — The new health-care bill was supposed to be President Barack Obama’s ticket to his re-election. But, for now, those hopes have dimmed, as the White House fights to defend its controversial policy to require Catholic institutions to provide contraceptive services in their employee health plans. Under President Obama’s health-care overhaul law, most private employer health benefits will have to cover birth control, free of charge, as a preventive service for women. For much of 2011, the U.S. bishops lobbied for a broad religious exemption that would shield church-affiliated hospitals, social agencies and universities from being forced to provide health services that violated their teachings. Instead, Kathleen Sebelius, secretary the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, approved a narrow exemption, provoking an immediate outcry from church leaders when the decision was announced on Jan.20. Now, the agency’s policy has roiled Capitol Hill, as unexpectedly strong opposition from Catholics across the political spectrum has created an opening for the GOP leadership and presidential hopefuls eager to attract swing voters. “I stand with the Catholic bishops and all religious organizations in their strenuous objection to this liberty- and conscience-stifling regulation,” stated Mitt Romney in a Feb. 3 column published in the Washington Examiner . “I am committed to overturning Obamacare root and branch. If I am elected president, on day one of my administration I will issue an executive order directing my secretary of Health and Human Services to issue a waiver from its requirements to all 50 states. “And on day one I will eliminate the Obama administration rule that compels religious institutions to violate the tenets of their own faith. Such rules don’t belong in the America that I believe in.” Romney’s stance has been challenged by his closest rival, Newt Gingrich, who has argued that the former Massachusetts’ governor’s 2005 decision to require Catholic hospitals in the state to provide “emergency contraception” to rape victims, despite the objects of Church-affiliated hospitals, suggests that he has flip-flopped on the issue. Romney’s defenders contend that the governor only enforced that policy after state Democrats overrode his veto But Romney is only one of several high-profile Republicans to address the issue this week. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., introduced a bill designed to repeal the HHS rule, and then House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, argued that the HHS policy violated First Amendment rights protected under the Constitution. In a Feb. 3 statement , Speaker Boehner vowed that if the White House did not reverse the federal rule, the House would take action. “The rule put forth by the Department of Health & Human Services must not stand.  The Obama Administration must re-evaluate this decision and reverse it.  If it does not, I believe the United States Congress, acting on behalf of the American people, will,” said Boehner, in his second statement on the issue that week. ‘Unconstitutional’ The previous day, during a press conference, the Speaker framed the mounting political challenge for the president and his allies. “There is obviously a lot of opposition to … requiring religious organizations to violate their beliefs in ordering that all insurance policies provide certain contraceptive benefits. I think this mandate violates our Constitution. I think it violates the rights of .......