On Wednesday, Senate Democrats introduced a bill that would force Christians and other conscientious objectors to pay for drugs and devices, including the "week-after" pill, that may kill human embryos.
The new bill was drafted in response to Supreme Court's ruling last week that Obamacare's so-called contraceptive mandate as applied to family-owned religious businesses was a violation of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. The Democrats' legislation would strip away the religious freedom law's protections for Americans who provide health benefits to their employees.
The text of the bill states that an employer-sponsored health insurance plan shall not exclude coverage of any item or service "where the coverage of such item or service is required under any provision of Federal law or the regulations promulgated thereunder" and that the new law would "apply notwithstanding any other provision of Federal law, including Public Law 103–141 [the Religious Freedom Restoration Act]."
By requiring religious Americans to be subjected to all federal health benefits mandates, the bill would open the door for the government to force conscientious objectors to pay for elective surgical abortions, assisted-suicide, or sex-change operations if the Department of Health and Human Services issues such regulations in the future.
According to Douglas Johnson, legislative director of the National Right to Life Committee, there is nothing in Obamacare preventing HHS from adding elective abortion or assisted suicide to the list of "preventive services" that employer-provided health plans must cover with no co-pay. "It is difficult to discern what would prevent HHS from issuing a further expansion of its 'preventive services' mandate to require that most employers also provide coverage for surgical abortions, or for doctor-prescribed suicide, that would be just as expansive as the contraceptive mandate," Johnson said.
The new bill was sponsored by most Senate Democrats, but Mark Pryor of Arkansas and Mary Landrieu of Louisiana--both of whom are up for reelection in 2014--were notably absent from the list of cosponsors. A Senate aide tells the Huffington Post that Democrats are fast-tracking the bill, so it will bypass a committee hearing and may be brought up for a full Senate vote as early as next week.