Affordable Care Act Did Not Nullify First Amendment Rights

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Editor:

A letter that appeared in the April 8 issue is full of lies and misrepresentations of facts regarding hormonal contraception and comes from a purely religious viewpoint. That Dr. William Colliton is cited as a source is clear evidence of the writer’s bias, as he is openly Catholic in his viewpoint, going so far as to use writings of Pope Paul VI to argue his case against birth control of any kind.

If the writer does not believe in birth control they don’t have to use it. To deliberately spread lies intended to frighten people is nothing short of disgraceful.

Space prohibits refuting each of the misrepresentations, so I will address the claim that the First Amendment has been nullified by the ACA.

Religious organizations have been given exemption from providing the birth control coverage mandated by the ACA, so no religious groups are being forced to violate their faith. Individual Christians can follow their own beliefs to use contraception or not as they wish.

If the writer has some valid argument that the ACA nullifies the First Amendment, they need to make a better case than just claiming this is so. The information presented is completely lacking in evidence that the conclusions are legitimate.

The entire letter is nothing more than the ravings of the hyper-religious who are attempting to convince others by any means possible, that birth control is evil. The letter is nothing more than a transparent attempt to spread Catholic belief.

Diane Green

Comments

Donald Cline 8 months, 1 week ago

Who said "Religious organizations have been given exemption from providing the birth control coverage mandated by the ACA"? The Catholic church and commercial companies have been fighting tooth and nail to be free of the ACA requirements, and have not yet succeeded except by applying for a special "waiver" that may or may not be granted.

What about Hobby Lobby? The owners object to being required to pay for an elective medical procedure they oppose on religious grounds. Are you suggesting that the mandate to provide contraceptive insurance is not in violation of their right to the free exercise of their religion as guaranteed by the First Amendment? (Not to mention their right, my right, and your right, to be secure from color of law emanating from the federal government for which no Constitutional authority is delegated, but that is a different thread.)

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Mel Mevis 8 months, 1 week ago

Don quit blowing smoke ......

Remember the employees of these businesses and organization are receiving compensation. It is ts the employees compensation once received and should be theirs to use as they want. Any legal medical treatment or medication the employee wants should be theirs choice to make, not the employer.

You do believe in personal Freedom, right? It's OK to impose your personal beliefs on an employee or for that matter anyone else? What about that color of law?

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Donald Cline 8 months, 1 week ago

The employees of these businesses and organizations are receiving compensation paid for by the employer. Quite aside from the religious freedom issue, the employers have a right to offer whatever compensation they choose, and the employees have the right to choose to accept it or find another employer who will offer them what they want. That is free choice. You are correct that once employees receive their compensation they can do with it as they wish, and no employers has the right to govern what they do with it. But neither does any employee have a right to demand a specific compensation, and the federal government sure as heck has no authority to back that demand up with penalties for non-compliance. And BTW, yes, that includes minimum wage -- the federal wage law is color of law; there is no delegated power to the federal government to mandate minimum wage, medical care, or ninety percent of everything else this rogue occupation government is doing. It is a tyranny no less than Soviet Russia or Nazi Germany when government refuses to obey the law that created it.

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Diane Green 8 months ago

Employees are not demanding that Hobby Lobby provide specific coverage; this is a mandate of the Affordable Care Act. Whether you believe the law is valid or not is immaterial because the Supreme Court determined the law should stand.

You call our government a "rogue occupation government" and that 90% of what it is doing is outside its rightful power. I'm not sure whether you mean that only laws passed during the current administration are outside the law or whether 90% of all government activity - even long-standing law - is illicit. Minimum wage was passed in 1938 to address egregious practices by business and industry to exploit workers. Similar laws require employers to provide insurance for workplace injury, to maintain a safe workplace, to abide by building codes and to dispose of waste responsibly. They cannot legally exploit children. Are you suggesting that any law restricting business is without foundation in law? To compare the United States to Nazi Germany is a remarkably bold statement, particularly because you provide no rationale or reason for making such a claim.

Obviously, you are taking advantage of any opportunity to rant since the original topic was First Amendment Rights. You have provided no reasonable arguments pertinent to the fundamental question: whether Hobby Lobby's (corporate) religious rights are superior to those of their employees and before that, whether hormonal birth control methods are harmful to women.

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Diane Green 8 months ago

Employees are not demanding that Hobby Lobby provide specific coverage; this is a mandate of the Affordable Care Act. Whether you believe the law is valid or not is immaterial because the Supreme Court determined the law should stand.
You call our government a "rogue occupation government" and that 90% of what it is doing is outside its rightful power. I'm not sure whether you mean that only laws passed during the current administration are outside the law or whether 90% of all government activity - even long-standing law - is illicit. Minimum wage was passed in 1938 to address egregious practices by business and industry to exploit workers. Similar laws require employers to provide insurance for workplace injury, to maintain a safe workplace, to abide by building codes and to dispose of waste responsibly. They cannot legally exploit children. Are you suggesting that any regulation restricting business is without foundation in law? To compare the United States to Nazi Germany is a remarkably bold statement, particularly because you provide no rationale or reason for making such a claim. Obviously, you are taking advantage of any opportunity to rant since the original topic was First Amendment Rights. You have provided no reasonable arguments pertinent to the fundamental question: whether Hobby Lobby's (corporate) religious rights are superior to those of their employees.

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Diane Green 8 months ago

Churches and houses of worship are exempted from providing contraceptives. Look it up yourself. Affiliated organizations and commercial companies such as hospitals and schools are a different thing entirely - one does not go to a hospital or university to seek religious guidance and they employ people who are of different religions or no religion. The Catholic church is fighting tooth and nail to have their First Amendment rights considered SUPERIOR to those of their employees, even where they have no direct interest.

Hobby Lobby is a corporation and the first question that must be answered by the Supreme Court is whether a corporation can have a religion. Even though the owners claim "sincerely" held beliefs, they have availed themselves of the legal and financial protection of the corporate structure. Can IBM or General Motors claim to be Catholic, or Methodist? Do those corporations sit in a pew in church on Sunday? There is no difference between them and Hobby Lobby. Curiously, Hobby Lobby provided their employees with the very coverage they now find objectionable prior to enactment of the ACA. This was no oversight. Companies their size scrutinize insurance contracts thoroughly so their sincerely held beliefs arrived on the scene quite recently. Additionally, the corporation invests heavily in the very companies that produce the contraceptives they find unacceptable. Hobby Lobby has no problem with such drugs when manufacturing them enriches their retirement program. They purchase huge quantities of goods from China, which enforces mandatory birth control and abortion, and they make a handsome profit from doing so. These facts lead me to a different conclusion about Hobby Lobby; they clearly have not demonstrated sincerely held beliefs regarding some forms of contraception but instead have mounted a politically motivated attack on the ACA.

The next question, should the Supreme Court give "personhood" to corporations in the area of religious belief, is whether that company's religious views take precedence over that of its employees. My opinion is that pregnancy, childbirth and family planning carry greater weight than a corporation's desire to avoid "paying" for what other women have a right to receive as a benefit under the ACA.

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Tim Branson 8 months, 1 week ago

Here's our one and only contribution that we also sent to the editor. Ms. Green will undoubtedly have a heyday with it, but who cares: We're a bit perplexed the Roundup saw fit to publish the bigoted and intolerant letter by Diane Green on Tues. Apr. 15th. Apparently, if you are Catholic it somehow disqualifies you from being a professional at anything and if a Catholic says anything at all about science, medicine, politics, etc., it's always "a transparent attempt to spread Catholic belief." The only thing faithful Catholics really want to do is spread the truth.

Ms. Green's criminalization of a fine medical doctor just because he is Catholic is appalling. Dr. William Colliton, at the time of his research on birth control pills was Clinical Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the George Washington University Medical Center. Also he was only one among 26 other distinguished medical professionals from around the country who signed their names to the document I spoke of in my letter, many undoubtedly not Catholic. Much of their evidence was confirmed by the Alan Guttmacher Institute, which can in no way be mistaken for a Catholic institution.

As for Ms. Green's unfounded belief that the first amendment is not on the verge of collapsing and that religious organizations are exempt from participating in Obama's new unconstitutional draconian laws, you have to read the extremely narrow definition he used for those who are supposedly exempt. Check out the reasons at http://www.usccb.org/news/2011/11-168.cfm. One quote states, "Even the ministry of Jesus and the early Christian Church would not qualify..." Oh but be careful. The link is to a Catholic site. We wouldn't want to secretly indoctrinate you. What hogwash!

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Diane Green 8 months ago

Mr. Branson did not cite a specific document in his original letter so I invite him to do so now so readers can see for themselves who co-signed Dr. Colliton's writings. Following is a quotation from Dr. Colliton in his 1999 paper titled "Birth Control Pill: Abortifacient and Contraceptive":

"Dear sister and brother signatories of the document entitled Birth Control Pills: Contraceptive or Abortifacient. We love you. We recognize our own sinful natures and are not insensitive to the real difficulty of admitting that one might possibly be wrong. One of us (WFC., Jr.) was for several years convinced that labeling birth control pills as abortifacient was the work of an extremist right wing medical conspiracy. Only on entering into a serious study of the matter did he become convinced of the error of his ways. We also believe that we have a God whose love for all of us is immeasurable, unqualified, and unchanging. If you are good enough for Him, you surely must qualify for our love."

Valid scientific research by definition excludes faith-based statements and references to things like "sinful natures." This is hardly "criminalizing" a source; instead it represents an exercise in reason. As for the Guttmacher Institute, I also invite anyone interested read their policy review, published in March, 2014 at http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/gpr/17/1/gpr170102.html. This article rebuts the claims the Branson's made in their original article. Note: People interested in convincing others would be well advised to select sources that do not contradict their conclusions.

Opinion papers published by the Conference of Catholic Bishops hardly qualifies as "proof" of anything. Their opinions about the ACA are just that - opinions. Since Mr. Branson identifies the Guttmacher Institute as a reliable source, following is a quote from their February 15, 2012 publication, "Statistic on Catholic Women’s Contraceptive Use:" "Guttmacher’s analysis of data from the federal government’s National Survey of Family Growth found that the vast majority of American women of reproductive age (15–44)—including 99% of all sexually experienced women and 98% of those who identify themselves as Catholic—have used a method of contraception other than natural family planning at some point."

I discount Dr. Colliton's conclusions and those of the Conference of Catholic Bishops because their positions are biased. Similarly, if I were looking for data on the dangers of smoking, I would discount papers published by the tobacco industry in favor of independent sources with no product to sell. This is not bigotry but common sense.

Mr. Branson may have an opinion about the constitutionality of the ACA - but the Supreme Court (presumably better qualified in the area of constitutional law), came to a different conclusion. That he states it is unconstitutional as a "fact" reveals his inability to discern fact from opinion.

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Donald Cline 8 months, 1 week ago

Put as succinctly as possible, our nation was founded on the principle that private rights (and concomitant responsibilities) trumped government authority. This was the first time in history a government was founded on those principles, and the result was -- until the federal and State governments went rogue -- a greater improvement in living standard, contentment, wealth, productivity, and PERSONAL LIBERTY than had occurred in the previous 25 centuries. And today, people like Ms Green and Mr. Mevis, who have never experienced grinding poverty and crushing tyranny, expect others to provide their every need as a matter of law. Well, Ms Green and Mr. Mevis have the personal authority, personal sovereignty if you will, to provide for themselves, and no authority to demand others to provide for them. Meanwhile the rest of us have the same personal sovereignty and the right to be secure from being compelled to provide for them, whether as an employer or as a taxpayer. We have the right to help them if we wish, and we have the right to say no when they demand that we provide for their needs. Government governs by the Consent of the Governed, and nowhere is the Consent delegated to rob the taxpayer or the business man to provide for those who cannot or will not provide for themselves.

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Diane Green 8 months ago

I fail to see what your comments have to do with First Amendment rights, which I believe to be the topic of discussion. Instead, you have seen fit to continue your rant and to accuse me and Mr. Mevis of expecting to have our every need met by others. You are snatching outrageous assumptions from thin air. This does not enhance your credibility. I'm very curious to know which of my personal needs I am demanding that you meet and how you know this.

I'll wait.

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Donald Cline 7 months, 3 weeks ago

You know, Ms Green, this is what happens when you claim a "right" that is not a right, and expect others -- whether employers, government, or your fellow citizens -- to waive their rights in order to extend the right to you. You get into major arguments like this with people who know what rights are.

Rights are defined by law -- Bouvier's Law Dictionary (1914), for example -- as "well-founded claims." Whether you or I or Hobby Lobby or anyone else supports your right to use birth control or not is not the issue here, nor is it First Amendment rights. I do support the right of women to use birth control, and I don't agree with those who don't for a huge number of reasons not relevant here. What is relevant here is that you do not have the right to require someone else to pay for your exercise of your rights. I believe in the right to keep and bear arms, but no one has a right to require me to buy them a firearm, and I don't have the right to require anyone to buy me one.. You believe in your right to contraception, and that's fine, but you do not have a right to compel someone else to pay for it REGARDLESS of their reasons for their refusal.

This is not a religious issue or a First Amendment issue; it is a right to be secure from robbery under color of law issue. You don't have the right to have someone else pay for your contraceptives any more than a societal leech has a right to demand taxpayers pay him welfare. You don't even have the right to demand an employer pay your medical insurance or even provide medical insurance for you to pay for. If you don't like what he offers, go work for someone else.

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Diane Green 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Actually, the topic IS First Amendment rights. You have an endless capacity to wander off point and harp on your favorite agenda, which is how "social leeches" want taxpayers to pay welfare for their every need and how most of the laws passed by the federal government are without legitimacy. Anyone who has read your posts (on any topic) can clearly see your anti-government agenda. Agenda, but no suggested alternatives, solutions, ideas or helpful information, let alone valid justification for your claims.

I'm still waiting for you to explain how you justify calling me one of those leeches and where you get your information.

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