Statements on the Health Care Mandate Stifling Religious Conscience



Rep. Kevin Brady


“This is a full scale retreat by a disconnected President who now knows that Washington shouldn’t force Americans to abandon their religious convictions.”


Rep. Bob Latta

“President Obama’s announcement is an affront to freedom. The new rule doesn’t change anything from the initial regulation that demands employers cover contraception; the burden is now being placed on health insurance companies, who inevitably will shift the cost to employers who buy health insurance, and individuals who pay premiums. “

Rep. Stephen Fincher

“The United States’ Constitution provides for freedom of speech and freedom of religion. These rights are the heart of our nation’s foundation and cherished by Americans, but they have recently been challenged by President Obama and Obamacare. Under regulations that are implementing Obamacare, religious-affiliated hospitals, clinics, and schools would have to offer insurance coverage for contraceptives, sterilization, morning after pills, and other services to prevent unwanted pregnancies. As a father and a Christian, I believe this is not only unconstitutional, but morally wrong and it should not stand.”


Rep. Jeff Fortenberry

A new mandate from the Department of Health and Human Services would force everyone to pay for drugs and procedures that some Americans consider to be ethically divisive. This new rule tramples the long American tradition of conscience rights. It also seems most perniciously targeted at religious institutions of all kinds, who have for generations been at the front lines of compassionate care for the poorest, most vulnerable, and most isolated. This is wrong. It is unfair. Why would the federal government seek to undermine these extraordinary institutions of care?


Rep.  Tom Rooney

“This is about much more than contraception,” Rooney said. “This is about Catholic schools and Catholic hospitals having to sacrifice conscience to comply with Obamacare. I believe that this is a clear violation of the free exercise clause of the first amendment of the Constitution.”


Rep. Chris Smith

“President Obama is using the coercive power of the state to force people of faith and people of conscience to violate a fundamental conviction or suffer severe penalty. What Obama has done is unconscionable and violates religious freedom.”


Rep. Steve Southerland

“The Obama Administration is engaging in a direct assault on religious freedom in America. As a man of faith, I am deeply angered that this administration would be willing to trample the constitutional liberties of faith-based charities, schools, and universities by mandating that they provide sterilization, contraception, and abortion-inducing services. Today, I am proud to co-sponsor the Respect for Rights of Conscience Act because it turns back this immoral edict and preserves the religious liberties that have been honored by the federal government for more than 200 years. I encourage all Americans who value the precious liberty of conscience to respectfully voice their opposition to this blatant attack on faith and freedom.”


Rep. Paul Gosar

“This new rule further demonstrates the Obama Administration’s disregard for the role of government in a free society.  Government intervention which forces religious-affiliated organizations to disregard their conscience rights is horrendous. I have urged the Department of Health and Human Services reconsiders its decision.”


Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer

“This attack by the federal government is another example of the many ills of the health-care law and a clear example of the administration’s lack of respect for religious freedom and conscience rights,” Luetkemeyer said.  “Our country must not stand, and will not stand, for this injustice, and that is why I felt compelled to file this legislation to reaffirm the United States’ history of protecting individuals and organizations from being penalized or discriminated against due to their faith. It is wrong and unprecedented to force religiously affiliated organizations to choose between staying true to their moral convictions and serving their communities in compliance with federal mandates.”


Rep. Kristi Noem

“I am deeply troubled by the Administration’s decision to force an ideological agenda onto people of faith and our religious institutions,” said Noem.


Rep. Steve Scalise

“It is extremely disappointing that President Obama continues to attack religious freedom by refusing to reverse the HHS ruling. This latest mandate by President Obama is no compromise at all, and will continue to infringe on the religious freedom of individuals by forcing coverage of abortion-inducing drugs regardless of their own religious beliefs.  I am calling on the Obama Administration to completely reverse this mandate, not repackage it under a different name, because hard working American taxpayers will not stand by and let President Obama attack our religious freedoms and trample on the Bill of Rights by forcing the costs of abortion-inducing drugs to be passed on to all employers regardless of their faith.”


Rep. Bill Huizenga

“Never before has the federal government ordered Americans to violate their conscience. This is a blatant attack on religious freedom as provided for all Americans under the First Amendment, and as a member of Congress sworn to uphold the Constitution, I must join the attempts to stop it. Freedom of religion is a fundamental American principle, and it is violated by these unprecedented regulations. The federal government should not dictate the terms of private health insurance coverage, especially when the new mandates aid in ending life.”


Rep. Rick Berg

“This is yet another example of the unprecedented overreach found in President Obama’s health care law.”


Rep. Adrian Smith

“The bipartisan outcry across the country reflects the importance of this issue. Despite today’s actions, this mandate continues to intrude on the Constitutionally protected right to practice one’s religion freely.”


Rep. Dan Lipinski

“I am enormously disappointed by today’s announcement. All the facts indicate that the ‘new’ mandate is the same as the ‘old’ mandate. New words, same policy. We need a rule that protects religious liberty by allowing employers to provide health insurance coverage that does not include abortion drugs and other services that violate their conscience and religious doctrine. Instead we got a so-called compromise that is no compromise at all and provides no options for those with profound religious and moral objections to providing these services. To say that the insurer and not the employer is required to provide the coverage is a fiction. There is no accommodation for religious liberty. The rule remains coercive and still violates the long-standing tradition of protection for conscience rights in federal law.”,91&itemid=1602


Rep. Dan Benishek

“While I have long been a vocal critic of President Obama’s plan to ‘reform’ health care, there is nothing I find more objectionable than this attempt to override our religious freedom through regulatory overreach.”


Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner

“This so-called compromise is really not a compromise at all because it does not take away the mandate that infringes upon religious liberty. Today’s decision is an attempt to alleviate the President’s political problem, but the underlying contempt for protecting the right of conscience remains. The only acceptable way to protect religious liberty is for the President to admit that he and his Administration have made a mistake and to withdraw the mandate over religiously-affiliated institutions completely.”


Rep. Michael McCaul

Like President Obama, I was elected to defend the Constitution of the United States.  If the president will not strike down this unconscionable requirement, then the Congress will.


Rep. Lou Barletta (speaking on the floor of the House)

“MISTER SPEAKER, a few weeks ago, President Obama stood in this very chamber and spoke about the need for fairness. Fairness, he said, is an American value.

“Yet the president and his administration are blatantly ignoring one of the most basic of American values – the freedom of religion.

“I’m referring to the decision by the Obama Administration to force Catholic employers to provide insurance that includes coverage for sterilization, abortion-inducing drugs, and contraception.”


Rep. Tom Cole

“Conservatives warned from the beginning that President Obama’s health care plan was a case of massive government overreach that would restrict health care choices, jeopardize individual freedom and expand government control over personal decisions. However, many never imagined that Obamacare mandates would end up blatantly trampling religious freedoms.”


Rep. Geoff Davis

“While the Administration is shifting who would pay for it, they are still mandating a violation of religious liberty and conscience protections for religious institutions by requiring them to facilitate access to these products.”


Rep. Denny Rehberg

President Obama’s health care law continues to eliminate choices for American consumers. In some cases, the lack of choice is driving up health insurance premiums.  In others, it’s forcing people out of their existing health plans despite promises that they could keep them if they wanted.  Now, we’ve got out-of-touch federal bureaucrats trying to force people to violate their religious convictions.  Enough is enough.  This top-down, government-knows-best approach is not the American way”


Rep. Chip Cravaack

“Last week, I spoke out in grave concern for the most recent assault on our religious freedom, the First Amendment, and our freedom of conscience.  The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ order requiring every Catholic institution larger than a single church to pay for contraceptives, sterilization, and morning-after abortifacients for its employees is directly contrary to the Catholic faith.  Forcing Catholic hospitals to comply with this mandate violates their core moral commitment to protecting the lives of the unborn.  For the government to dictate to Catholic schools, hospitals, and social services how they must operate is an act of federal aggression.  This ill-considered policy constitutes a truly radical break with the liberties that have underpinned our nation since its founding.”,25&itemid=325


Rep. Michele Bachmann

“The sad truth is that he is still asking many American employers to violate their moral conscience on a daily basis. No healthcare plan should force Americans to go against their deeply held religious beliefs. This horrendous mandate is just one of the many reasons that I will not rest until Obamacare is repealed.”


Rep. Paul Ryan

This is much, much bigger than about contraception.  This is about religious freedom, First Amendment rights, and how this progressive philosophy of fungible rights of a living breathing constitution really clashes and collides with these core rights that we built our society and country around.


Rep. Steve Womack

“This decision by the Obama Administration was an affront to the core beliefs of most Americans—time honored protections afforded by the Constitution regarding religious freedom.”


Rep. Scott Rigell (speaking on the floor of the House)

“Madam Speaker, I rise in strong objection to the President’s decision to require employers to provide insurance coverage for services which clearly violate their religious convictions.”


Rep. Joe Barton

This is not simply about providing or using contraception.  As your letter stated, this is an issue of religious freedom.  I agree with you that conscience protections need to be upheld, we should not force doctors or employers to violate their religious or moral convictions.


Rep. Mike Pence

“I strongly believe that conscience protections are necessary to ensure that individuals within the health care industry and marketplace are not faced with the decision to violate their deeply held beliefs for fear of breaking federal laws. I sent a bipartisan letter along with 154 of my colleagues to Secretary Sebelius voicing our opposition to this blatant attack on religious liberty.”


Rep. Ron Paul

“The First Amendment guarantee of religious liberty is intended to ensure that Americans never have to put the demands of the federal government ahead of the their own conscience or religious beliefs. This new policy turns that guarantee on its head. The benefits or drawbacks of birth control are not the issue.  The issue is whether government may force private employers and private citizens to violate their moral codes simply by operating their businesses or paying their taxes.”


Rep.  Marlin Stutzman

“Last week, the President said ‘we can’t leave our values at the door.’ Well, faith-based groups can’t throw their values out the window when the White House changes its talking points. This announcement does not offer genuine conscience protections. Instead, it offers a flimsy hope that, given enough window dressing, religious groups will disregard their enduring values. Faith-based groups were rightly outraged when the Administration openly tried to force them to purchase insurance policies that provide abortion inducing-drugs, sterilization, and contraception. Today’s announcement does nothing to change that. Faith-based groups will still be forced to decide if they will face stiff fines or offer policies that violate their beliefs. The President might have shuffled the deck, but he’s playing the same game.”


Rep. Joe Walsh

Today’s announcement is just another political move by the President.  At the end of the day, religious institutions still have to provide healthcare plans with free contraceptive services. It will still force religious institutions to violate their core beliefs.  But it is also more than a just religious issue, it is a moral and First Amendment issue “


Rep. Doug Lamborn

“The Obama Administration’s newest “compromise” on the issue of religious freedom and ObamaCare is little more than a political gimmick designed to distract from what is at stake. Despite efforts to confuse the issue, the bottom line is the President’s newly-revised mandate still tramples upon religious freedom.”


Rep. Jeff Landry

We strongly urge the U.S. House Budget Committee to include report language recommending that no funding be appropriated towards promulgating, implementing or enforcing any rule or guidance which forces entities to violate their religious charter or doctrinal beliefs or employees’ individual consciences by offering to their employees health insurance coverage of contraceptives, sterilizations and abortifacients.