birth control

Telling the government rather than an insurance company that a university will not pay for contraceptives, such as abortion-inducing drugs, is only a “cosmetic” change that still forces a university to “facilitate” its employees getting contraception, four Christian universities in Oklahoma said in a new filing in their challenge to Obamacare’s contraceptive mandate.

Represented by the Alliance Defending Freedom, the universities told the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals the administration’s new “accommodation” – in which the government arranges cost-free contraception for university employees after a school files its “religious objections” directly with the Department of Health and Human Services – still makes universities complicit:

They must still file a document causing their health plan, insurer, and/or third party administrator (TPA) to be commandeered by the government and used as a mule to deliver certain objectionable items. Under the old accommodation invocation mechanism, they completed and sent a particular form to the insurer or TPA; now it is a letter to the government identifying the insurer or TPA, which causes a letter to be sent to the insurer or TPA. …

The government could use its money—which under the new rule it offers to pay to TPAs—to deliver these items through the government’s own channels, without hijacking the Universities’ own plan administrator or insurer by means of the Universities’ contracts and their letters to the government. But the government stubbornly insists on involving the Universities in the delivery channels anyway.

It’s a “semantic” argument that universities won’t end up paying for abortion-inducing drugs:

[T]he government cannot deny that the payments for objectionable items that the Universities’ insurers would offer under the interim rule are part of the Universities’ own coverage. Therefore the Universities are substantially burdened because they are being required to provide a plan that covers the items, despite the government’s semantic denial of that fact.

Senior Counsel Gregory Baylor of the Alliance Defending Freedom says religious nonprofits should get the same exemption offered to churches, rather than a string of proposed accommodations which indicate that the government can find “less restrictive” ways of providing contraception.

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Christian colleges such as Wheaton in Illinois can simply “inform the Department of Health and Human Services of its religious objections and the department would then contact insurance companies and arrange the birth control coverage at no cost to the employer or its employees,” under the Obama administration’s latest attempt to satisfy the Supreme Court on contraceptive coverage, The New York Times reports.

Wheaton already secured an injunction from the Supreme Court this summer against having to comply with the administration’s earlier “compromise,” which would have made the college arrange for birth-control coverage directly with its insurance provider. That injunction laid out the same path adopted by the administration in Friday’s rule, which took effect immediately.

Read the full Times story here.

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The Department of Justice is trying to stop the religious-freedom logic of the Supreme Court’s decision in the Hobby Lobby contraceptive-mandate case from spreading to religious colleges and other nonprofits seeking the same exemption.

The Associated Press reports that DOJ asked the Supreme Court Wednesday to turn down Wheaton Colleges’s request to get itself out of any complicity in the provision of “objectionable contraception”:

The issue in the lawsuits filed by Wheaton and other nonprofit groups is different because the administration already has allowed them to opt out of paying for the objectionable contraception by telling the government that doing so would violate their religious beliefs.

But they must fill out Form 700 that enables their insurers or third-party administrators to take on the responsibility of paying for the birth control. The employer does not have to arrange the coverage or pay for it. Insurers get reimbursed by the government through credits against fees owed under other provisions of the health care law.

The fight is over completing the form, which the nonprofits say violates their religious beliefs because it forces them to participate in a system to subsidize and distribute the contraception. …

“The decision in Hobby Lobby rested on the premise that these accommodations ‘achieve all of the Government’s aims’ underlying the preventive-health services coverage requirement ‘while providing greater respect for religious liberty,'” the Justice Department said, quoting from Justice Samuel Alito’s majority opinion.

Read the full article here.

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IMAGE: Department of Justice

After hearing Sandra Fluke speak at American University recently, one female student wasn’t impressed.

In an op-ed titled “How Sandra Fluke Gets It Wrong,” sophomore Julia Morriss writes in The Eagle student newspaper that Fluke’s feminism charms didn’t work on her, and offers a pretty compelling argument against Fluke’s infamous claim to fame.

“Fluke presents an appealing position: someone else paying for contraception. For a college student on a limited insurance plan, this sounds pretty good. It’s easy to work up self-righteous anger about it. Lots of insurance plans cover Viagra and vasectomies, so why not my birth control? Isn’t this just another example of sexism in our society? It’s not my fault I was born a woman, so why should I have to pay extra for my contraception?

Once worked into a frazzle, we demand our “equal” treatment and push the government to ensure we get it. The result is Obamacare’s Contraceptive Mandate. While there are numerous problems with the mandate, some are especially poignant. It seriously infringes on religious liberty, and it denies any concept of responsibility for one’s actions and choices.

Though Catholics have been among the most vocal opponents to the mandate, it goes against the religious practices of many others, including some Jewish and Muslim groups. To them, contraception is considered immoral for a variety of reasons that they’ve explained on numerous occasions.

But they shouldn’t even have to explain. The First Amendment guarantees anyone the right to their religious practices, and no branch of government is authorized to take away constitutional rights. Religious groups are private institutions whose mission is not only their product or service but their desire to foster an environment where they can practice and share their faith. As a country that prides itself on religious tolerance, why are we punishing some for their beliefs and forcing them into practices they find immoral?

… Another problem with Fluke’s demands is that she refuses to accept responsibility for her choices, a problem our generation seems to struggle with on a continuous basis. We are constantly told that a woman has a right to her privacy and her own body and that her choices are her own. No one else gets to make them and the government should stay out of her bedroom. But then the government should pay for her decisions? If my choices are my own and only I get to make them, why does someone else have to shoulder the responsibility?

The choices we make come with consequences and responsibilities. That is no one else’s fault and no one else’s burden to bear. Live your life how you want. Just don’t ask me to pay for it.

Fluke embodies our generation’s sense of entitlement. As a woman, I understand her appeal, but I also recognize that in an economy already crushed with debt, we should not try to expand government spending for something that both hurts religious liberty and removes our responsibility for our actions.

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The College Fix has previously reported on president Obama’s efforts to force Catholic and other religious universities to provide contraceptives under Obamacare, contrary to the teachings of Catholic doctrine.

Obama his attorney general Eric Holder have made it clear that they do not believe that constitution protects religious institutions from acting against their own religious teachings when it comes to upholding the provisions of Obama’s health care reform bill.

In a similar case, now winding through federal courts, the Obama administration is determined to force the nationwide arts and crafts chain Hobby Lobby, which is owned by a family of evangelical Christians, to pay for contraceptives and abortion-inducing drugs.

CNS News reports:

In a legal argument formally presented in federal court in the case of Hobby Lobby v. Kathleen Sebelius, the Obama administration is claiming that the First Amendment—which expressly denies the government the authority to prohibit the “free exercise” of religion—nonetheless allows it to force Christians to directly violate their religious beliefs even on a matter that involves the life and death of innocent human beings.

Because federal judges—including Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor—have refused to grant an injunction protecting the owners of Hobby Lobby from being forced to act against their Christian faith, those owners will be subject to federal fines of up to $1.3 million per day starting Tuesday for refusing to include abortion-inducing drugs in their employee health plan.

Religious liberty and liberty of conscience can no longer be taken for granted in Obama’s America.

Read the fulls story at CNS News. (Via Fox Nation)

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A renowned University of California-Riverside professor recently advised students to save Mother Earth, eat vegetarian, only have 1.5 kids – two at the most – take up social justice causes, and “lower your standard of living.”

Biology Professor Richard Cardullo – recently tapped by several federal agencies to assist with redeveloping how college students across the nation study life science – offered the advice to a room full of middle school students as part of the university’s online science lecture series, recorded on the campus earlier this year. A video of his talk is posted on YouTube.

He began his 50-minute lecture, “Is Earth Overpopulated,” by painting a picture that the planet doesn’t have the room or resources for more and more humans, yet that’s the direction in which it’s headed.

“What is the carrying capacity of the planet?” Cardullo said. “As the population goes up we are using more and more resources at a faster rate. … Most people think (Earth’s carrying capacity is) in the range of nine to 13 billion. And remember – no matter what we do – we believe we are going to be at nine billion by 2030 anyway.”

Apparently famine, disease and war do not have the ability to effectively roll back the burgeoning human population and save the planet’s resources, the professor noted.

“If you want to minimize environmental impact, perhaps you should consider lowering your standard of living, for instance,” Cardullo told the students.

But that won’t cut it entirely, he said.

“Ultimately … the argument is, we have got to do something about population as well. The United States, we are very affluent. … We currently have a population of 313 million people. … Altogether we gain one person every 15 seconds. … If we want to take the population down to 150 million, all it would require in the next 100 years is to lower that birth rate – because we are not going to do it through any other method, right? That would be horrible.”

Cardullo ultimately advocates family planning for the task.

“That means your generation and the next generation, if they are committed to doing this, would mean having family sizes that on the average are 1-and-a-half children, or two,” he said. “Some would have one, some would have two. It would be 50/50.”

Cardullo’s lecture then morphed into somewhat of a sexual education seminar, explaining to the students on a cellular level how sperm fertilizes an egg, and how scientists study new ways to stop that from happening.

“Sperm is a vector … which leads to increased populations, so many scientists want to know, ‘Are there new ways we can control population or fertility rates?’ … so individuals can make the decisions to keep those rates low,” he said. “We are talking about controlling human fertility.”

He cited Gossypol, a cotton derivative that can cause sterility in males, as something under scrutiny by the scientific research community. Apparently in large doses it has the unfortunate effect of killing people, however.

“That’s one form of birth control, but probably not a good one,” Cardullo said, then chuckled. “So ultimately the World Health Organization argued against using it. But interestingly enough, there are countries in the world (such as China now investigating) using it as a permanent  method for controlling fertility in males, which is an option.”

Cardullo turned to some advice from renown conservationist and Professor Joel Cohen, who oversees the Laboratory of Populations at Rockefeller and Columbia Universities, to conclude his speech to the kids.

“So what are we going to do? What are you going to do is the real question, because my generation is about done, we’ve left this for you,” Cardullo said. “We have talked about fertility control, we have talked about the environment, we clearly have to start making some smart choices, there are a few solutions.”

For one, continue to use technology and innovation to increase production of resources, he said. But there are some other ideas as well, he said, citing Cohen’s work.

“ ‘Put fewer forks on the table,’ meaning reduce the numbers and expectations of people  through such means as family planning,” Cardullo said.

He also suggested not eating meat.

“One of the things we know is the production of meat is incredibly expensive,” he said. “You are going to start hearing more and more about humans’ carbon footprint, and one of the biggest contributions to that carbon footprint is the production of meat. … We could do a lot simply by just becoming more vegetarian.”

Finally, change attitudes, he said.

“We could teach better manners … enhance social justice,”  he said. “What are we going to do about continents like Africa. Is it fair to say we are going to be affluent, but other parts of the world are not? These are all decisions you are going to be making.”

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