The many lawsuits against the HHS mandate may be overrun by current events. Now that hundreds of thousands of people are learning that, despite the President’s frequent assurances, they are not allowed to keep the affordable insurance policies they currently have, the Affordable Care Act may collapse of its own weight. Perhaps Nancy Pelosi should have read the bill before she pressured her colleagues to pass it.
In the meantime, Cornerstone University’s lawsuit, along with Wheaton’s, Notre Dame’s, Hobby Lobby’s, et. al., will continue to make their way through the courts. The student newspaper here asked me to write an essay on our lawsuit, and I thought it may be helpful to run the draft by you first. I did a little research with the time I had, and I believe my facts are correct. But if you see anything that needs changed, I have until tomorrow to turn it in. It starts now.
I understand the government’s position. I really do. It wants to guarantee that all people have health care, which would logically include contraception. If health plans cover Viagra for men, then why not birth control for women?
But there are three problems:
1. America’s present hodgepodge of health insurance combines both public and private sources, with the awkward result that the government mandates what coverage private employers must provide. The Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. Obamacare) states employers must pay for all forms of contraception that are approved by the Food and Drug Administration. This wouldn’t be a problem, except that:
2. Some of these birth control drugs induce abortions. The “morning after pill,” marketed by such telling names as Plan B One-Step and Next Choice, may stop the ovaries from releasing an egg or sperm from uniting with it, but they may also keep a fertilized egg from implanting in the uterus. Since a fertilized egg is the start of a unique human life, we who believe in the sanctity of human life cannot support its elimination.
3. So when the government requires us to provide these abortion-inducing drugs, it demands that we violate our conscience. And not on a small matter, but on the valuing and protecting of life that is uniquely made in the image of God. The government acknowledged it understands the gravity of this issue when it allowed a religious exception for churches and other houses of worship. But why should it think that Cornerstone’s values differ from the churches that support and send us their students? Why would it be wrong for a church to violate its conscience but not Cornerstone?
The government suggested a compromise. Employers won’t have to pay for these abortifacients as long as their insurance companies do. But where do the insurance companies get this money? From us. They are just the middlemen. If you ask if I stole your bike and I say No, I simply paid Tom to do it, there is a good chance you are still going to blame me. Likewise, we shouldn’t think God would let us off the hook because we paid someone else to violate our conscience.
Obamacare’s mandate may strike some as an esoteric hill to die on, especially since none of us have met, or even seen, a fertilized egg. After all, aren’t infertility centers full of fertilized eggs, put there by Christians to maximize their chances at in vitro fertilization? Yes, and Christians who support fertilizing eggs that will not be implanted have no moral authority to oppose this government mandate. Nevertheless, this mandate is merely round one between the government and religious institutions. It may not be long until the government attempts to prohibit institutions such as Cornerstone from terminating those who commit homosexual acts.
Even here I understand the government’s position. I really do. We do not wish to discriminate against anyone, and we gladly defend the human rights of homosexuals to equal housing, work, and so on. But our Cornerstone Confession states that Adam and Eve’s “union as man and woman models God’s design for marriage and perpetually stands as God’s loving and righteous will for all sexual intimacy.” We would violate our conscience if we ignored God’s clearly revealed will for sex and marriage. But if the government successfully rolls us on the issue of abortifacients, does anyone doubt it won’t soon enough require us to violate our conscience on homosexual practice?
I understand the government’s position. I really do. But does it understand mine?