Column: Update on Affordable Care Act – life and liberty attacks

Ron Kelsey is the archdiocesan consultant for the pro-life office. You can email him at: profile@archkck.org or call him at (913) 647-0350.
Ron Kelsey is the archdiocesan consultant for the pro-life office. You can email him at: profile@archkck.org or call him at (913) 647-0350.

by Ron Kelsey

With all of the media coverage and confusion surrounding the Affordable Care Act, it seems timely to review, in summary fashion, the major ACA provisions impacting religious freedom and life which are not often covered by much of the media.

Let’s cover religious freedom first. The coercive HHS mandate (part of ACA) attacks religious freedom and forces individuals and organizations, including Catholic organizations and ministries, to violate their religious beliefs on issues of life. There are dozens of lawsuits against this mandate, including those brought by Catholic dioceses and Catholic organizations. One of these lawsuits received a favorable ruling in a federal district court in Pennsylvania on Nov. 21. The plaintiffs include the Catholic dioceses of Pittsburg and Erie and related organizations.

Fortunately, a preliminary injunction was granted preventing the government from enforcing the HHS mandate against the plaintiffs.

In another encouraging development, the U.S. Supreme Court has recently agreed to hear two cases involving the for-profit organizations, Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties. These companies are arguing that their religious freedom has been violated by the HHS mandate.

For more information regarding religious liberty issues go to the bishops’ website at: www.usccb.org/ issues-and-action/religious- liberty.

Now let’s cover the numerous life issues involved in
the ACA. First, most state exchanges, although not the one in Kansas, include insurance policies that cover abortion. Since many individuals will receive federal subsidies to help pay for their insurance, this effectively forces all tax-payers to provide monies to help pay for abortions.

Also, under ACA, Medicaid will expand significantly. Medicaid, by federal law, covers abortions in cases of rape, incest and life endangerment of the mother. Additionally, under Medicaid, some states use state monies to cover abortions beyond those covered in federal law. The Lozier Institute estimates that the above two aspects of ACA will expand abortions by 71,000, to 111,500 abortions per year.

The HHS mandate will also expand abortions by providing free access (no out- of-pocket insurance costs) to ella, the abortion drug similar in chemical composition to the RU-486 abortion pill. Abortions will also expand by increased free access to contraceptive drugs and devices, such as IUDs, which can cause abortions.

Bottom line? Abortions will increase due to certain provisions of ACA.

It is important to note that the rights that are being attacked are fundamental rights. Fundamental rights are those rights which must exist before other rights can exist.

Life is a fundamental right because one does not need other rights if one is dead. Religious liberty is our most fundamental liberty right, because our religious beliefs are at the center of our very being. When fundamental rights are eliminated, other rights are at risk.

Therefore, we must stay vigilant and informed on provisions within ACA which attack life and liberty.

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