By Dave Andrusko
In for a dime, in for tens of millions (if not hundreds of millions) of dollars. Pro-abortion President Barack Obama doubled/tripled/quadrupled down today on his mandate forcing religious institutions and businesses to pay for health insurance plans that cover medical procedures and drugs over their religious or moral convictions.
Obama’s speech, delivered in Denver and accompanied by pro-abortion “activist” Sandra Fluke, was a blistering attack on his pro-life rival, Mitt Romney. “When it comes to a woman’s right to make her own health care choices, they want to take us back to the policies more suited to the 1950s than the 21st century,” Obama said. “The decisions that affect a woman’s health, they’re not up to politicians, they’re not up to insurance policies. They’re up to you. And you deserve a president that will fight to keep it that way.”
As he has done repeatedly—and falsely—Obama told his audience, “We worked with Catholic hospitals and universities to find a solution that protects both religious liberty and a woman’s health.” Were that true, of course, there would not be dozens of lawsuits against the mandate.
On Monday Obama’s Justice Department adopted a familiar two-pronged defense in asking a federal court judge to dismiss a lawsuit by the Franciscan University of Steubenville against the mandate which the University said violated religious freedoms. In court filings Justice Department lawyers said (1) that the school (and an association of Michigan Roman Catholic dioceses) are protected from the mandate’s requirements until at least 2013; and (2) that “the lawsuit isn’t timely because changes are already being made to the regulations to meet the concerns of religious groups,” according to the Associated Press.
Last month, U.S. District Judge Warren Urbom dismissed a separate suit brought by the attorneys general from seven states, asking that the mandate be blocked. He accepted both Justice Department arguments—that the suit was premature and that“the rule is currently undergoing a process of amendment to accommodate these organizations” (a reference to the other plantiffs- – Catholic Social Services, Pius X High School, the Catholic Mutual Relief Society of America, a nun, and a female missionary).
Of course those who have followed the battle over the mandate would vigorously deny the Obama Administration has shown any sign of seeking a genuine “accommodation.”
After Judge Urbom issued his ruling. Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt told the Associated Press in a statement that he planned to talk to his colleagues in other states about an appeal.
“This was not a ruling on whether the religious mandate is a violation of the First Amendment, but merely a decision on whether the plaintiffs can file a lawsuit at this time,” he said. “The violations need to be heard and the federal government held accountable.”
CBS News, in its story on the Denver speech, observed that Obama was trailing in Colorado in the latest Quinnipiac survey, adding “the campaign is doubling down on its efforts to win over and energize women voters across the state.” While it is true that Mr. Obama is ahead among single women, Romney is ahead among married women.
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