No doubt anticipating religious objections from non-church religious institutions to paying for employees abortion drugs, the Obama administration came up with a compromise to the mandate last year. Religious institutions would have to fill out a form noting their objections. This triggered the alternative: insurance companies that offered plans through the institutions would pay for the drugs.
For some, that would be enough, but the compromise still implicates religious institutions in the abortion-inducing drug scheme. Wheaton College, a private Christian school, objected to even filling out the form. They’d still be providing employees with these drugs, albeit indirectly.
Last Thursday, the U.S. Supreme Court temporarily exempted Wheaton from the form requirement until it fully reviews the case. All Wheaton needs to do is inform the government that it objects to the mandate on religious grounds. From the Wall Street Journal:
The college claims it can disregard the form under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, a 1993 law providing exemptions from federal regulations that impose a substantial burden on free exercise of religion while serving no compelling governmental interest that cannot be achieved otherwise. The Hobby Lobby ruling turned on the religious freedom law.
While I’m familiar with the “compelling government interest” rationale for burdensome regulation, I don’t understand why requiring employers to pay for abortion drugs–or even birth control pills–could ever be a compelling government interest. I’ve mentioned several times that birth control pills and devices are cheap and readily available. Even if they weren’t, why would the government force a business to provide these things? They don’t have to offer health insurance at all.
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