Orrin Hatch on Bill to Reverse Hobby Lobby Decision: ‘It’s Not Going Anywhere’
CNSNews.com asked Hatch at a press conference on Capitol Hill Wednesday about the chances that the Protect Women’s Health From Corporate Interference Act, or S.2578, will be passed in the Senate.
“It’s not going anywhere,” said Hatch, who described the bill as a “political” move by Democrats.
The court decision in favor of the Hobby Lobby craft store chain owners’ religious objection to providing abortion-inducing drugs to employees as mandated by the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was anchored in the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), co-authored by Hatch and the late Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.), which limits the federal government’s ability to infringe on the free exercise of religion by citizens through the enactment and enforcement of federal law.
The court said the ACA’s contraception mandate violated RFRA by forcing a “closely-held corporation’s” owners to violate their religious beliefs by providing abortion-inducing contraceptives to employees.
Hobby Lobby owners Barbara and David Green objected to four of the 20 Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved methods of birth control – two “morning after” pills and two intrauterine devices (IUD).
Hatch spoke Tuesday on the Senate floor about the bill, which some have dubbed “Not Your Boss’s Business Act.”
“This is the first time in American history that Congress will consider a bill intended to diminish the protection for the religious liberty of all Americans,” Hatch said. “It is part of a broader campaign to demonize religious freedom as the enemy, as an obstacle to certain political goals.”
Hatch said the ACA’s contraceptive mandate is “exactly the kind of situation that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act was enacted to address, the kind of situation that should require government to justify why and how it wants to interfere with the exercise of religion.”
Hatch was joined at the conference by Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn), who said the bill’s provision tramples on the religious liberty of citizens.
In a letter to the Senate, the Union Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America said the bill in unprecedented.
“We cannot think of a prior piece of legislation whose purpose was to curtail this fundamental constitutional right that was entertained by the Senate, let alone given immediate consideration on the floor without so much as a single hearing in committee,” the letter stated.
Penny Nance, CEO and president of Concerned Women for America Legislative Action Committee, also sent a letter to the Senate.
“The extreme message that the Hobby Lobby decision deprives women of access to contraception is just not true,” Nance wrote in the letter. “The Supreme Court simply stated that the government has other means of providing four out of the 20 FDA-approved contraception pills regulated under the Health and Human Services Mandate [under the ACA).”
The earliest action on the bill could come Wednesday as a vote on closure is scheduled for the afternoon.