Tag archives: Contraceptive Mandate

Conscience, Convenience or Misguided Conviction?

by Sherry Crater

November 1, 2013

Commuting and working in Washington, D.C. affords many opportunities to engage in lively conversations with people who hold diverse opinions on controversial issues. With religious liberty currently being a hot topic, a recent discussion on First Amendment rights and religious expression turned into an instructive session for a group of adult men and women.

The conversation began with a recounting of the case of a New Mexico photographer who was fined $7000 for declining to photograph a same-sex “commitment” ceremony due to her deeply held religious beliefs. The discussion then turned to the provision in the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) which mandates that businesses and organizations provide contraceptives, abortion inducing drugs and sterilization procedures in their insurance plans.

Against this backdrop, the question was posed, “If you are the only pharmacist in a community and you don’t believe in the use of contraceptives, do you have an obligation to distribute contraceptives to the community regardless of your personal beliefs?” The consensus of the group, with a couple of exceptions including me, was yes; the pharmacist should comply and distribute the contraceptives for the “common good” of the community. One gentleman asked why the individuals seeking contraceptives could not simply travel to the next town to purchase them. A young woman responded, “It isn’t fair that I should be inconvenienced in getting my contraceptives.“

Her response raises a couple of important thoughts. First, why should the pharmacist have to violate his or her conscience for the convenience of others who can easily obtain abortion- inducing drugs or contraceptives elsewhere? The purchaser probably would not have to go far to obtain them, as access to contraceptives is certainly not a problem. Birth control and emergency contraceptives are available at grocery stores, every major retailer like Wal-Mart and Target, or online. Why does the purchaser’s convenience trump the pharmacist’s conscience?

Second, the assumption was made that the pharmacist would just be willing to acquiesce to the law, discard his or her moral convictions and distribute the objectionable pharmaceuticals. This assumption underestimates the strength and sacred nature of religious or moral convictions. A person with deeply held religious beliefs may very well choose to find another profession or move to another community rather than violate their conscience about such high priority personal matters. In such a case, the attempt to force the pharmacist to dispense the contraceptives against his or her will ends with the pharmacist taking their business to another community, thus leaving the original community potentially without a pharmacist at all.

Many well-intentioned but misguided people could benefit by better understanding the ramifications of limiting the freedom of people to live out their religious beliefs. Perhaps what seems best for one individual’s notion of the “common good” might have unfortunate consequences for many other members of the community. Americans have recognized since our founding the fundamental right of all citizens to free expression of religion and exercise of conscience as inherent, unalienable rights granted to us by God and secured and protected by the Constitution.

Eden Foods Statement to Customers on HHS Mandate Suit

by Cathy Ruse

April 17, 2013

As I mentioned in my last post, this afternoon I emailed a letter of support to Michael Potter of Eden Foods encouraging him in his lawsuit against the Obama Administration’s HHS Mandate.

Moments later I received this email in reply. It appears to be the statement sent to any inquiries regarding the suit. 

Again I say:  Rock on, Michael Potter!

Greetings,

Please be discerning consumers. Grotesque mischaracterizations about Eden Foods’ action related to the Health & Human Services (HHS) mandate, Affordable Care Act, are most regrettable.

OnMarch 21st, 2013a press release announced our lawsuit against the unconstitutional government overreach in theHHSmandate. This announcement was made to the media and general public. We apologize for the unintended consternation given rise to by this action.

Eden Foods’ health care provider is required by theHHSto comply with all details of the Affordable Care Act. Parts of the mandate violate the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment of the United States Constitution, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, and the Administrative Procedure Act. This overreach of the federal government infringes on religious freedoms.

It is discriminatory that not all employers have to comply with theHHSmandate. Millions of people and thousands of companies are exempt. The exemptions under the Act are illogical, inconsistent, and contributing factors to our lawsuit. For instance, McDonald’s Inc. and 166 unions are exempt. Small employers are exempt. Individuals who practice certain faiths are exempt, while individuals who practice other faiths are not. Federal employees are exempt, and this is hypocritical. There is no exemption for the religious freedoms of employers.

Edenemployee benefits include health, dental, vision, life, and a fifty percent 401k match. The benefits have not funded “lifestyle drugs,” an insurance industry drug classification that includes contraceptives, Viagra, smoking cessation, weight-loss, infertility, impotency, etc. This entire plan is managed with a goal of long-term sustainability.

We believe in a woman’s right to decide, and have access to, all aspects of their health care and reproductive management. This lawsuit does not block, or intend to block, anyone’s access to health care or reproductive management. This lawsuit is about protecting religious freedom and stopping the government from forcing citizens to violate their conscience. We object to theHHSmandate and its government overreach.

This is an important matter that deserves attention from us all.

Our actions have been, and will remain, principled and transparent.Eden’s focus is pure food, ethical business practice, and the nurturing of all people and the planet.

Respectfully,

Michael Potter, President

I’m Not in Your Bedroom. Obama is in Your Bedroom”

by Cathy Ruse

April 17, 2013

I have a new hero: Eden Foods founder and CEO Michael Potter.

Eden Foods is an organic company popular among the “crunchy, liberal crowd” which has filed suit against the Obama administration over the HHS mandate. 

Potter is getting slammed over it, thanks in part to a hit piece last week in Salon magazine which publicized the suit and framed Potter as a man with an anti-birth control agenda. 

Don’t waste your time on the original article. Instead, enjoy the refreshing quotes from the no nonsense, plain-speaking Mr. Potter in Salon’s follow-up piece from Monday relating a telephone conversation between Potter and Salon writer Irin Carmen.

I’ve got more interest in good quality long underwear than I have in birth control pills,” Potter told Carmen. Then he elaborated:

I don’t care if the federal government is telling me to buy my employees Jack Daniel’s or birth control. What gives them the right to tell me that I have to do that? That’s my issue, that’s what I object to, and that’s the beginning and end of the story….I’m not trying to get birth control out of Rite Aid or Wal-Mart, but don’t tell me I gotta pay for it.

Rock on, M.P.!

When Carmen pressed Potter using the fallacy that “the mandate doesn’t cover abortion” but “only contraception,” Potter responded this way:

It’s a morass…I’m not an expert in anything. I’m not the pope. I’m in the food business. I’m qualified to have opinions about that and not issues that are purely women’s issues. I am qualified to have an opinion about what health insurance I pay for.

When Carmen said contraceptive coverage is cheaper to pay for than maternity coverage, Potter replied: “One’s got a little more warmth and fuzziness to it than the other, for crying out loud.”

Potter is not backing down:  “I worked my ass off at figuring out what to do on it. I worked hard on it and I made a decision,” he said. “The federal government has no right to do what they’ve done. No constitutional right, no standing.”

Carmen writes that Potter sounded annoyed that he’s receiving emails telling him to stay out of people’s bedrooms. “I’m not in your bedroom,” he said. “Obama’s in your bedroom.”

Michael Potter is doing the right thing, for the right reasons, and he’s getting slammed by left-wing activists who have lots of time on their hands. He needs to hear from the rest of us.

Here’s where to write: websales@edenfoods.com and info@edenfoods.com

I just did, and here’s what I said: 

Dear Mr. Potter:

I know you’re getting heat for your lawsuit from people who like the idea of free birth control and abortion drugs, courtesy of a heavy-handed federal government mandate on employers.

But you should know there are many people who agree with you that it is not the federal government’s place to dictate to employers that they must buy these things for their employees in their health plans. And yes, the mandate does include drugs that can cause an early abortion, not just contraception.

As a woman and a lawyer, my message is this: contraceptives and abortion pills are widely available, they’re legally unrestricted, and they’re cheap. Anyone who wants them can get them. There is no reason for the federal government to force every employer in America to provide them “for free.”

Thanks for standing firm. I can’t wait to buy lots of Eden Foods!

Evangelicals and Catholics Together? You bet.

by David Christensen

July 18, 2012

You may have heard about multiple Catholic organizations suing the government over the contraceptive mandate which forces religious organizations that are not churches to provide free abortifacients, contraceptives and sterilizations in their health plans.

But this isnt just a Catholic issue, as many protestant denominations have spoken against the threat of religious freedom this mandate poses.

Today, Wheaton College, an evangelical college, joined The Catholic University of America in yet another lawsuit. Wheatons President, Dr. Philip Ryken, describes the contraceptive mandate this way:

Wheaton College and other distinctively Christian institutions are faced with a clear and present threat to our religious liberty.

To read more, see Wheatons press release.

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