WP Opinion Piece
The Obama administration has decided that the provision in the health care law that requires "preventative care" to be covered includes contraception, constragestion (Plan B), and sterilization. They've acknowledged that the right to freedom of religion protects churches and other religious institutions from this mandate, but decided that religious schools and hospitals don't qualify for this first amendment right because they have the gall to treat and educate people who aren't of their religion. From NYT:
The argument the Obama administration is making is that if you're a Jewish hospital who treats only Jews, you're a religious institution and have freedom of religion, but if a busload of Christian children show up bleeding on your doorstep and you have the audacity to admit them, you're a secular institution and have no rights. It's an utterly ridiculous argument.A religious employer cannot qualify for the exemption if it employs or serves large numbers of people of a different faith, as many Catholic hospitals, universities and social service agencies do.
As the opinion writer puts it:
Possible results include institutions kowtowing to government demands in direct violation of their consciences (unlikely), continuing to fund employee health care as they see fit and paying the $2000 per employee penalty, cutting employee health care to afford the penalty, or simply deciding to turn away clients from other religions in order to maintain their autonomy. While I can't imagine hospitals closing their doors on people due to religion, it is important to note that President Obama is incentivizing that behavior, and I find that appalling.Obama is claiming the executive authority to determine which missions of believers are religious and which are not — and then to aggressively regulate institutions the government declares to be secular. It is a view of religious liberty so narrow and privatized that it barely covers the space between a believer’s ears.