The following comes from a Mar. 11 USA Today column by Bart Stupak, former U.S. Congressman (D-Mich.) who was part of Pro-Life Caucus and who famously defected from the caucus to support Obamacare.
As a member of Congress, I was proud to vote for the Affordable Care Act, providing 32 million Americans with access to quality, affordable health care. I was eager to see many of the reforms in the act, including its provision to lower health care costs for women by increasing access to affordable preventive care. Today, as a private citizen, I’m proud to stand with the Green and Hahn families and their corporations, Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood, in seeking to uphold our most cherished beliefs that we, as American citizens, should not be required to relinquish our conscience and moral convictions in order to implement the Affordable Care Act.
No, I haven’t changed my position. I continue to believe the Affordable Care Act is critical to reforming our health care markets and providing a critical safety net for millions, such as those who qualify for the Medicaid expansion, or for the seriously ill who will no longer see their benefits capped by annual limits. The objection to the Department of Health and Human Services mandate is that the preventive care provisions force businesses and their owners to extend health insurance coverage to methods of contraception that may cause the abortion of new embryos: new human beings. It is possible to support the president’s signature legislation and still object to the way the preventive care provisions have been applied by the Department of Health and Human Services.
I had hoped that more of my Democratic colleagues would object to the way the contraception mandate has been applied. During the battle over the ACA’s passage, pro-life Democratic members of Congress negotiated with the president to ensure that the Act would not be employed to promote abortion. During the final debate on the Affordable Care Act, I engaged in a colloquy with Chairman Henry Waxman reaffirming that Americans would not be required to pay for abortions or violate their conscience by participating in or promoting a procedure they find morally objectionable. In response, we received an ironclad commitment that our conscience would remain free and our principles would be honored. With our negotiations completed and our legislative intent established by the colloquy, we agreed to an executive order directing federal agencies to respect America’s longstanding prohibitions on government funding of abortion and most relevant here, to respect longstanding protections for individuals and organizations conscientiously opposed to participating in or facilitating abortions.
I was deeply concerned and objected to the HHS mandate that required all health plans to cover all FDA-approved contraceptives, including four drugs and devices that could terminate human life at its earliest stages by preventing an embryo’s implantation in the womb….
Former Congressman Bart Stupak and Democrats for Life of America have filed a brief supporting Hobby Lobby and Conestoga in the US Supreme Court cases.
To read the entire column, click here.