Building the culture of life

Column: HHS health care mandate ignores fundamental rights

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

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

by Ron Kelsey

As you know, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius released an insurance mandate on Jan. 20.

There are many grievous flaws associated with the HHS mandate, which attacks religious freedom, conscience rights and life. Educating our families and friends on these flaws is crucial in helping to overturn this coercive law and rescue our society from the disastrous consequences that will unfold from this unjust law.

In this column I am going to focus primarily on the flaw that stems from ignoring fundamental rights, which then results in the wrong prioritization of rights. But first, it is important to note that the mandate is flawed from the start because it is launched from our current heath care law. But the mandate covers abortion-inducing drugs, sterilizations and contraceptives, which are not health care.

Women’s health is not aided by these so-called services and, in fact, is harmed (not to mention the potential life-destroying impact on the unborn child). Objective analysis and an Internet search can readily identify these harms.

Now let’s move to what I regard as the fundamental flaw of this HHS coercion mandate, which is that the mandate ignores two of our fundamental civil rights —  life and liberty. These rights of life and liberty are not only fundamental, they are also intrinsic to us as human beings. Or in the words of the Declaration of Independence — they are unalienable, endowed by our Creator and self-evident. They are part of the essence of who we are as human beings.

Our forefathers realized the critical importance of these fundamental, or foundational, or source, or first rights and that these rights could not be justly taken away by the government. First among the rights associated with our right to liberty is the right to religious freedom and the right of conscience. Our forefathers recognized the importance of religious freedom by putting it as the first freedom identified within the First Amendment contained in the Bill of Rights to our U.S. Constitution.

Hopefully, common sense tells us why fundamental rights command a higher priority when compared to other rights. Yet, the HHS “coercion” mandate (commonly misnamed, in my opinion, as the contraception mandate), puts a perceived right of access to free contraceptives (often deceptively so-labeled) as a higher-priority right when compared to the right to religious freedom and the right to life.

Really? Incredible! Only a subjective, arbitrary interpretation could lead to such a flawed prioritization of rights. This grievous flaw will only lead to grievous harms. Our religious freedom is violated and additional lives of the unborn will be ended.

Please stay informed and engaged in this battle for the soul of our country.

About the author

Ron Kelsey

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