Rep Chris Smith of New Jersey gave his assessment of the proposed rule changes announced by HHS yesterday. Here is the entire statement:
Washington, Feb 1 - “President Obama’s slick public relations offensive contains neither an ‘accommodation’ nor a compromise nor a change in his coercion rule,” said Congressman Chris Smith (NJ-04), Co-Chairman of the House Bipartisan Congressional Pro-Life Caucus.
“The so-called new policy is the discredited old policy, dressed up to look like something else,” Smith said. “The mandate remains a serious violation of religious freedom. Only the most naïve or gullible would accept this as a change in policy.
“The proposed rule issued today remains a direct, obnoxious, unprecedented government attack on the conscience rights of religious entities and anyone else who for moral reasons cannot and will not pay for abortion inducing drugs—such as ella—or contraception and sterilization procedures in their private insurance plans.
“The proposed rule provides NO RELIEF for small businesses run by people of faith. It provides NO RELIEF for individuals seeking insurance coverage that does not violate their moral or religious beliefs.
“Mr. Obama is arrogantly using the coercive power of the state to force faith-based charities, hospitals, and schools to conform to his will at the expense of conscience.
“Mr. Obama’s means of coercing compliance—ruinous fines when faith-based organizations refuse to comply—will impose incalculable harm on millions of children—educated in faith-based schools—and the poor, sick, disabled and frail elderly who are served with such compassion and dignity by faith-based entities.”