HHS Contraception Edict Likely to be Ruled Unconstitutional if Not Overturned by Congress, Legal Expert Says

A press release from the National Center for Public Policy Research:

Washington, D.C. - National Center for Public Policy Research Adjunct Fellow Horace Cooper is criticizing HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius for pushing a new health care mandate that forces church-supported soup kitchens, schools, and other charities to provide coverage for contraception, sterilization procedures and early abortifacients to all of their employees as part of their insurance plans.
"The new HHS rule represents a radical departure from the traditional treatment of religious organizations in America," says Horace Cooper of the National Center for Public Policy Research. "If the White House doesn't overturn this regulation, the Courts will."

Cooper, a legal commentator who taught constitutional law at George Mason University, is the author of the just-released "The Birth Control Mandate is Unconstitutional" published by the National Center.

Cooper notes that a unanimous decision of the U.S. Supreme Court reaffirmed relevant religious freedom protections only a few weeks ago inHosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church v. EEOC.

"This regulation is a cruel use of federal power that rejects over 200 years of understanding about religious freedom in America," said Cooper. "It furthermore threatens our long-held belief that all Americans may worship and serve God free from governmental interference. This assault on religious liberty is shockingly out of touch with the value that Americans place on their religious freedom, the Founding principles of the First Amendment, and a litany of legal precedent that was reaffirmed by a unanimous Supreme Court only a few weeks ago."

"No American, employer or worker, should be forced to choose between their religious precepts and obedience to the law," added Cooper. "It's beyond bizarre to argue that the only way to ensure that the 'morning after' pill or other abortifacients are available is to force religious organizations to pay for them."

"And the so-called religious exemption is an insult masquerading as a joke," Cooper said. "Indeed, many Christians may wonder whether even Jesus' earthly ministry would satisfy the Administration's ham-fisted exemption requirements."

Cooper explains that religious schools, charities, and health care providers will be forced to choose between the moral dictates of their conscience and creed, or following the President's health care mandate-of-the-month. Such a choice is antithetical to the freedom of religion rooted in our constitutional tradition, and the fundamental protections of the First Amendment, Cooper says.

Cooper's new paper, "The Birth Control Mandate is Unconstitutional," is available online at http://www.nationalcenter.org/NPA632.html.

Horace Cooper is an adjunct fellow with the National Center for Public Policy Research, a member of the African-American leadership group Project 21 and a legal commentator. He taught constitutional law at George Mason University in Virginia and was general counsel to U.S. House Majority Leader Dick Armey.

The National Center for Public Policy Research, founded in 1982, is a non-partisan, free-market, independent conservative think-tank with over 100,000 recent supporters. Contributions to it are tax-deductible and greatly appreciated.

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