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Rep. Smith: HHS mandate is attempt to end Catholic health care
President Barack Obama talks with HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius in the Oval Office, Nov. 4, 2010. Official White House Photo by Pete Souza
President Barack Obama talks with HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius in the Oval Office, Nov. 4, 2010. Official White House Photo by Pete Souza
By Michelle Bauman
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.- Representative Chris Smith thinks that the Obama administration’s decision to force religious organizations to purchase health insurance plans in violation of their consciences is an attempt to force “Catholic health care to cease to be.”

“That’s the end goal here. I think we have to be very blunt about it,” he said in a Jan. 23 interview with CNA.

The Republican congressman from New Jersey also responded to President Barack Obama’s Jan. 22 statement on the anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision, which legalized abortion in the United States.

President Obama reaffirmed his commitment to abortion, which he called a “fundamental constitutional right.” He added that the 1973 decision “also affirms a broader principle: that government should not intrude on private family matters.” 

Rep. Smith said that President Obama’s statement reveals his “bigotry and prejudice against the unborn child,” whom he fails to include as a family member.

He also observed that the president’s professed commitment to avoid interfering with the private matters of citizens is inconsistent with his administration’s Jan. 20 decision to require virtually all health care plans to cover sterilization and contraception – including abortion-causing drugs – at no cost.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services also announced that its finalized “preventative services” mandate would not contain an expanded religious exemption for employers who object to its requirements on religious grounds.

Since it was first proposed, the religious exemption policy has been harshly criticized as being too narrow. 

The overwhelming majority of religious organizations will not qualify for the exemption, which applies only to organizations that exist for the purpose of inculcating religious values and that primarily serve and employ members of their own faith.

Rep. Smith said that the mandate violates the conscience rights not only of those who object to contraception, but also those who object to abortion. The early abortion drugs  Plan B and Ella are included in the “preventative services” that insurance companies are required to cover.

The congressman warned that the “misguided” policy might be a foreshadowing of further coercive abortion policies in the future.  

He explained that during the heath care overhaul debate, Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) offered the preventive health care amendment, upon which the HHS mandate is based.

Sen. Mikulski was asked during the debate if she would exclude abortion as a “preventative service” and she said no.

Rep. Smith said this illustrates a move toward saying that “preventive health care equals abortion, because you’ve got to get rid of that unwanted pregnancy.”

A pro-abortion mindset sees an unwanted child as a “disease” or “a tumor to be excised,” he explained.

Rep. Smith also stated that “coercion is embedded” in the legal abortion movement, and that he believes more attempts to force compliance can be expected under the current administration.

He illustrated his point by noting that “coercion begins in the first place against the baby,” who has “no say in the violence that’s coming his or her way.”

Congressman Smith said that Americans must realize the significance of the threats being posed by the Obama administration’s attacks on conscience rights.  

“The mask is off,” he said. “It’s about time we woke up.”

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