United States Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510
On behalf of millions of women nationwide, I am writing today to urge you to support the Blunt Amendment (S. AMDT. 1520) to the transportation bill. This amendment is crucial to protecting our all-important First Amendment rights, thus ensuring that those who participate in the health care system “retain the right to provide, purchase, or enroll in health coverage that is consistent with their religious beliefs and moral convictions.”
To make this amendment into a debate about women’s health is disingenuous. Women currently enjoy ready access to contraceptives without government overstepping its bounds and mandating that religious organizations also provide them to employees. This is an issue of religious liberty of choice. The government does not have the authority to mandate that American women and men abdicate their First Amendment right to the free exercise of their religion. The government has no right to force individuals and organizations to go against their religious and/or moral beliefs to purchase a product they find objectionable. This is not a question of reproductive rights; this is a question of fundamental rights of liberty.
Our parents and grandparents came to this country because of the freedoms guaranteed to its citizens. They did not come here to have their God-given rights stripped from them. As President Thomas Jefferson said in the Virginia Notes of 1875, “Our rulers can have no authority over such natural rights, only as we have submitted to them. The rights of conscience we never submitted, we could not submit. We are answerable for them to our God. The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others.”
American women, from all walks of life, already have access to contraceptives. There are currently over 4,500 family planning clinics funded by Title X that solely focus on the provision of birth control to those who cannot afford it but do not qualify for Medicaid. In 75% of the counties nationwide, there is at least one Title X clinic. In addition, there are over 8,000 “delivery sites” for community health centers across the country, which provide access to family planning services, including access to contraceptives.
We strongly urge you to support this amendment. This intrusion upon one of Americans’ most fundamental liberties must end now. As President Ronald Reagan wisely said, “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.”
[Your Name and Address]
Text of CWALAC Letter to the Senate on the Blunt Amendment
February 29, 2012
United States Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510
On behalf of our 500,000 members nationwide, Concerned Women for America Legislative Action Committee (CWALAC) would like to express our support for S. AMDT. 1520, Respect for Rights of Conscience, to the Transportation Bill, S. 1813. This amendment will ensure that those who participate in the health care system “retain the right to provide, purchase, or enroll in health coverage that is consistent with their religious beliefs and moral convictions.”
In August, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) proposed an interim rule that required virtually all private health care plans, except those that met a very narrowly tailored religious exemption, to cover sterilization and all FDA-approved contraception, including abortifacients ella and Plan B. HHS reaffirmed the rule on January 20 but delayed implementation for one year for non-exempt religious organizations to change their moral or religious convictions.
President Barack Obama tried unsuccessfully to alleviate the religious liberty issues raised by this rule. However, his compromise does not fix the underlying issues, because it still forces religious employers and employees, who have moral objections to sterilization, abortifacients, and contraception, to pay for these things.
The bottom line is that, despite President Obama’s “compromise,” this rule undermines religious liberty tenets of the Constitution and conscience laws that have been in effect for over 30 years. Requiring faith-based employers, like CWALAC, to include free abortion-inducing drugs in their health insurance plans is contrary to both Christian doctrine and constitutional guarantees of religious freedom. When religious groups and individuals are forced to deny their deeply held religious convictions it is called “tyranny.”
Without Senator Blunt’s amendment, our religious liberties, the bedrock of America, are toppled. CWALAC will score against the motion to table the Blunt Amendment and, if the amendment receives a voted, we will score in favor of it in our annual scorecard.
Chief Executive Officer and President
Concerned Women for America Legislative Action Committee