Mrs. BLACKBURN. Mr. Speaker, there is no shortage of issues here in Washington, and I find it so interesting when people come to our offices and ask: What is going on today?
As you will hear, whether it is talking about foreign affairs, the job issues, the budget, the issues that are of such concern to our constituents, there is always something that is on the front burner, and today is one of those days. The Supreme Court will hear yet another legal challenge to one of the many unconstitutional aspects of ObamaCare, and that is the HHS contraception mandate. Of course, this isn't the first time that the Affordable Care Act, the President's health care law, has been pulled into the Supreme Court, and it is probably not going to be the last, but today the hearing is on the contraception mandate.
No American should have to choose between feeding their family and abiding by their faith. I have to tell you, that is what we see happening right now. It is precisely what this coercive contraception mandate is doing to millions of hardworking people of faith, like the Hahns and the Greens, who simply want to run a business and practice their faith. These family businesses want to take care of their employees and provide them with quality health care coverage. All they ask is to not be forced to pay for the life-ending contraceptives that violate their religious convictions.
Now, ObamaCare's unreasonable mandate has placed them in a bind: violate the tenets of their faith or be fined, fined by the Federal Government, fined by ObamaCare, fined $100 per employee per day. That is what the fine works out to be. Unbelievably, it would be cheaper to strip their employees of health care coverage altogether and pay a single $2,000 fine per employee per year. That is what you find in the 20,000 pages of regulation, in the 2,700 pages of the President's health care law.
That is not what these family businesses want to do. They really want to do the right thing and take care of the hardworking men and women who are in their employment.
If these family businesses are forced to close or drop health care for their employees, it will be the employees and their families who are made to suffer.
This mandate is just another flawed part of a terribly flawed law, and Americans are growing tired of having to cope with it. Fifty-nine percent of the country opposes the contraception mandate because they know what the Greens and the Hahns know. This is a country founded on religious liberty, and that freedom of conscience is a cherished American tradition. The American people know that and they value that; they value that liberty and they value that tradition.
The Obama administration has already doled out special exemptions to 100 million health care plans from this mandate, and for every reason under the sun except religious liberty. In fact, the HHS mandate only explicitly contains a religious exemption for churches and their affiliates. The Obama administration even expects hospitals and religious nonprofits to abide by the mandate without complaint, as if the very founding principles of these organizations aren't outright violated by paying for life-ending contraceptives.
Unless it is a religious institution, the Obama administration seems to think no organization, not even a charity, is allowed to exercise the right of conscience, unless it is granted a special waiver from the administration, of course. The administration: What the government gives, the government can delay, and the government can take away. That is their plan.
It is my hope the Court will act to uphold the protections inherent in the First Amendment, respect America's long-held tradition to right of conscience, and let these families operate their businesses in accordance with their religious beliefs and tenets.