The recent decision by President Obama to require contraceptive coverage in all insurance plans is just wrong.
As someone who has been pro-life my whole life, I find this decision disturbing and a blatant violation of the conscience rights of millions of Americans. One of our First Amendment rights is the ability to practice our religious faith as WE decide, not as the government decides.
It is not the place of government to mandate coverage that flies in the face of an individual or group's religious and moral beliefs.
After a massive public outcry over the rule, the President announced a plan to shift the cost of contraceptive coverage from employers to insurance companies. This will only shift the cost to all policyholders and still force people to pay for medical services contrary to their beliefs.
While many of us would prefer to repeal the entire Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) and replace it with a market-based approach to meeting our nation's health care needs, the Respect for Rights of Conscience Act (HR 1179) is a necessary step now.
Over 220 Republicans and Democrats from all parts of the country are cosponsoring this bill. It would amend the PPACA law to allow employers to decline insurance coverage for items and services that violate their religious beliefs, such as contraceptives. It also prohibits the government from punishing these employers for simply practicing their religious beliefs.
I believe our First Amendment rights are important and should not be compromised.
JOHN M. SHIMKUS
Member of Congress