U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta, PA-11, released the following statement in response to President Obama's "accommodation" regarding mandates in the healthcare law:
President Obama's announcement does nothing to keep his administration from infringing on the most basic of American rights -- the First Amendment right to religious freedom.
Instead of forcing Catholic and other religious employers who might object to paying for sterilization, abortion pills, and contraception, it will force insurance companies to offer plans that include those to all women, no matter where they work. Insurance companies will just pass along the cost of providing these services to whomever pays the premiums. There is no change in what the mandate actually means to Catholics who believe in the sanctity of life, and there is no change in the way this policy breaches our freedom of religion.
Religious freedom isn't just the ability to believe and worship as we see fit. It's also our right to keep other beliefs from being imposed on us. People of conscience will still be forced to choose between their God and their government.
I will continue to work in the House for a legislative solution to reverse this breach of the U.S. Constitution.