LAUREL — Never before has the government forced ecclesiastical organizations to enter a marketplace and purchase products that violate their consciences, but a poorly-worded provision of President Obama’s new Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act – popularly known as Obamacare – is threatening to blemish our nation’s noble history of religious liberty.
The act states that “all insurers” will be required to provide “preventive health services.” However, when the law was passed by Congress, the term “preventive” wasn’t specifically defined.
So, in August of 2011, Kathleen Sebelius, the Health and Human Services secretary, decided to clarify the administration’s interpretation of the phrase, noting that it will be defined to include contraceptives and morning-after pills. She likewise adopted an official position that the agency will construe the “all insurers” language of the act to include religious organizations.
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