Following is a statement from U.S. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (MO-9) on the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) rule that goes into effect today requiring individual and group health plans to cover free sterilization and all contraceptives approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration:
"As a strong opponent of the president's health-care law, I am outraged by the administration's continued push to require employers and insurers to cover all free sterilization and contraceptives approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which includes abortion-inducing drugs. It is a sad day when our government completely disrespects Americans' religious freedoms and conscience rights. Religious entities are given an additional year to adapt their consciences, but for all other employers and insurers, they must now be in compliance with the mandate. This is inexcusable and an affront to all Americans. I remain committed to supporting and protecting individuals and organizations from being penalized or discriminated against due to their faith and will continue to fight for my legislation, the Religious Liberty Protection Act (H.R. 3982), prohibiting the government from forcing employers and health insurers with religious or moral opposition to provide coverage of sterilization or contraceptive services. This is a fight from which I will never back down and will continue to fight for the religious freedoms and conscience rights of all Americans."