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Ken Sims, Published December 14 2013

Letter: ACA contraceptive mandate a threat to our basic freedoms

The U.S. Supreme Court will take up another legal disagreement regarding the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as “Obamacare.” This time it’s the Health and Human Services contraceptive mandate.

What is the HHS mandate? On Jan. 20, 2012, the United States Department of Health and Human Services, under Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, revealed a new policy that required private health insurance plans to include coverage for “preventive services for women.” The list includes all FDA-approved prescription contraceptive drugs and devices, surgical sterilizations and abortion-inducing drugs. These contraceptives were recommended by the Institute of Medicine. By the way, every member of the IOM committee was in favor of legalized abortion. Not a single member was pro-life or had any uncertainties about contraception or sterilization.

The court will decide if this mandate is in conflict with the constitutional right to religious freedom. Family businesses, religious charities, schools and hospitals with moral and/or religious objections must comply with the HHS mandate. Religious freedom is one of our most basic rights. This is a big deal.

But here is where the threat lies. Coverage for contraceptives was recommended by a nongovernment committee, and yet it becomes the law of the land. What authority does this group have in deciding what insurance must include? Contraception is not health care. It is not vital preventive care. It is not an illness or disease. Why is this even an issue?

This mandate forces everyone to have the same values as the IOM. If you want to buy health insurance with contraception coverage, then buy it. If we do not want this coverage, then we should not be forced to buy it. This is America, where we are guaranteed many freedoms. If we allow government to mandate its citizens to have certain insurance coverage, then we are no longer free. We will become slaves to it. We are a great nation. Let’s keep it that way.

Sims lives in Moorhead.