*** NEWS RELEASE ***
For Immediate Release
February 15, 2012
Contact: Deborah Hamilton at (215) 815-7716, (610) 584-1096, [email protected]
Obama’s ‘Compromise’ of Birth Control Mandate a Slap in the Face – Original Language Never Changed
Pennsylvania Pastors’ Network Says Obama Filed Regulation with the Exact Same Wording That Raised Religious Objections
PHILADELPHIA, PA — President Obama’s perceived "compromise" on the controversial birth control mandate actually wasn’t a compromise at all, as Obama never changed the wording when he filed the regulation on Friday, after he announced the so called "accommodation."
The mandate sparked a debate about religious liberty, as all employers would be required to pay for birth control coverage, regardless of their religious views on the practice.
Research by the Heritage Foundation has discovered that—despite what Obama said at his White House press conference—the actual regulations make permanent the "interim final regulations" issued August 3, 2011, the ones that sparked the furor originally. Obama drew attention to the first 17 pages of the law in the "compromise," but pages 18 to 20 contain the actual amendments to the Code of Federal Regulations that are made by the departments of the Treasury, Labor, and Health and Human Services, those that Congress previously granted joint oversight of employer health plans.
The bottom line: "Accordingly, the amendment to the interim final rule with comment period amending 45 CFR 147.130(a)(1)(iv) which was published in the Federal Register at 76 FR 46621-46626 on August 3, 2011, is adopted as a final rule without change."
Translation: The Obama Administration Friday afternoon put into federal law the very regulation that drew objections from almost 200 Catholic bishops, some 50 religiously affiliated colleges and universities, 65 North American bishops of Orthodox churches, numerous other Jewish, Evangelical and Lutheran leaders, and even some liberals — and without changing so much as a comma.
"There is no other way to describe this recent development as a deception of the American public," said Colin Hanna, president of the Pennsylvania Pastors’ Network and Let Freedom Ring. "This is a passionate topic for many across this country, and our President has simply placated us like children and kept the law as-is, in essence deceiving Americans and sweeping their deep concerns under the rug, then moving forward, ‘business-as-usual.’"
Now, from this point forward, any changes to the birth control mandate will have to go through the formal regulatory process all over again. Instead of delaying final regulations until they could be revised to reflect the prospective changes President Obama outlined Friday, the Administration went ahead and locked into regulation its original position, accompanied by a (non-binding) promise to revisit the issue.
"This now-unchanged mandate that religious institutions provide contraceptive, sterilization and abortifacient services is the greatest assault on religious freedom in the history of the Republic," Hanna added. "Never before has this nation witnessed the federal government so ruthless in its over-reach of power, and so dismissive of the Constitution. This is an issue that affects every Catholic and non-Catholic, should it be another Christian, a Jew, even a non-believer. To allow this ‘rule,’ as this administration so arrogantly calls it, to stand is to surrender our most basic freedom, the freedom of conscience. We cannot."
The Pennsylvania Pastors’ Network is a group of biblically faithful clergy and church liaisons whose objective is to build a permanent infrastructure of like-minded clergy who affirm the authority of Scripture, take seriously Jesus’ command to be the "salt and light" to the culture, encourage informed Christian thinking about contemporary social issues; examine public policy issues without politicizing their pulpits and engage their congregations in taking part in our political process on a non-partisan basis.
The Pennsylvania Pastors’ Network is a project of Let Freedom Ring, Inc., a 501 c(4) non-profit organization.
For more information about Pennsylvania Pastors’ Network visit www.papastors.net.
To schedule interviews with Colin Hanna, President of Pennsylvania Pastors’ Network and Let Freedom Ring, contact Deborah Hamilton at [email protected] , 215-815-7716 or 610-584-1096.
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