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Copyright (c) 2012 Kansas Journal of Law & Public Policy
Kansas Journal of Law & Public Policy


Fall, 2012

Kansas Journal of Law & Public Policy

22 Kan. J.L. & Pub. Pol'y 109


L. Scott Smith*


The Obama administration recently provoked a tidal wave of outrage and criticism from the Christian community. The administration announced, through the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), that "preventive services" 1 provided to female employees in group health insurance plans required under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, 2 must include all FDA-approved prescriptive contraceptives, including "morning after" drugs and sterilization procedures. 3 All subject employers, unless specifically exempted from doing so, were mandated to defray the costs of these services, notwithstanding their religious convictions.

Opposition to the mandate was swift and unrelenting. Not only did all 181 Catholic bishops publicly denounce it, but also Orthodox bishops, Evangelical leaders, and officials from the Southern Baptist Convention and the Missouri Synod of the Lutheran Church 4 chimed in with notes of disapproval as well. All contended that the measure violated the right to religious liberty guaranteed by the Religion Clauses of the First Amendment. The mandate, in their eyes, amounted at worst to political tyranny and at best to a hostile and unwelcoming attitude toward religion.

Faced with a staggering backlash of religious sentiment in an election year, President Obama revised the HHS mandate by placing the burden of payment for the questioned services upon private insurers as opposed to employers. 5 This revision left unanswered why many insurers, self-insured employers, and others opposing the mandate on religious grounds should be expected to pay for it. 6 How charitably forbearing in the face of religious imposition, critics of ...
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