ObamaCare Versus Individual Freedom
President Obama’s new mandate requiring all employers to purchase insurance coverage for their employees that includes abortion-inducing drugs, sterilization and contraception is an outrage, of course.
But what kind of outrage is it? Most of the public outcry has understandably centered around the mandate’s assault on religious liberty.
The mandate forces every businessman or non-profit executive with religious objections to these products to buy them anyway, or pay a fine.
The mandate is unconstitutional, for its violation of the First Amendment’s “free exercise” clause. It is also illegal, for its violation of the 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
Some of the outrage has been rightly directed specifically at the president, as both the mandate and the underlying law, ObamaCare, are his doing.
Indeed, many pro-life citizens and members of Congress only supported ObamaCare’s passage because the president assured them that conscience rights would be protected. Thus the mandate is also a personal betrayal.
And some of the outrage is more practical. The Obama administration’s mathematically impossible assertion that abortion drugs, sterilization and contraception will somehow now simply be “free,” and thus not paid for by morally opposed insurance customers, suggests the president believes in magic.
All of these affronts to the rights and intelligence of the American people are enough to warrant the criticism the new mandate has invited.
The violation of conscience rights is simultaneously unconstitutional, illegal, and ridiculous – any one of which are sufficient grounds for its immediate rescission.
Yet, it is still not our true cause of concern. Ultimately, the character and ideology of the president, and the particular constitutional provisions being trampled by this one mandate are incidental, compared to the manifest threat to freedom intrinsic to ObamaCare itself.
The problem is not how the federal government is abusing its new power in this instance, but that the government – indeed, a single person – suddenly wields this power at all.