No longer a looming deadline, the Obama Administration’s anti-life, conscience-killing mandate goes into effect today.  Your First Amendment guarantee of freedom of conscience is taking a hit, regardless of whether or not your insurance plan is one of the mandate’s August victims.

Last year, the Obama Administration’s Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), under the clear influence of Planned Parenthood, announced that it was defining the “preventive services” provision of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to include “all FDA approved contraceptives.” As AUL has repeatedly documented, adopting such a broad definition forces private health insurance plans to fully-cover, without a co-pay, life-ending drugs and devices, including ella, an abortion-inducing drug.

Despite the knowledge that mandated coverage for a drug like ella violates the religious beliefs and moral principles of many Americans, the Obama Administration has refused to offer sufficient solutions to a serious problem. Putting its loyalty to the abortion industry above all else, HHS has not budged.

Today, the pay-out to the abortion business begins.

By design, the mandate has a “rolling” start.  With each passing month, more plans will be infected with forced coverage for life-ending drugs and devices.  One year from today, the so-called “safe harbor” for certain religious non-profit organizations expires.

But while in one sense its “impact” will be felt in waves, the immediate legal ramifications of the mandate’s institution are tremendous for all Americans.  And the consequences extend far beyond the life-ending drugs that have been deceptively labeled as “contraception.”

Abortion advocates understand that establishing that there is no freedom of conscience for healthcare payers on “contraception” sets legal precedent to say there is no freedom of conscience on “abortion.” It is not a slippery slope. The same underlying legal principle – First Amendment freedom of conscience – is being attacked. This is why many Americans who do not object to contraception per se have joined the fight against the HHS mandate.

AUL has pointed out time and again that forced coverage for “all FDA approved contraceptives” (which includes the abortion-inducing drug ella) and the Obama Administration’s failure to protect conscience is not only bad policy.  It is unlawful and unconstitutional.

Last week, one of the over a dozen cases filed against the conscience-killing mandate enjoyed success. A federal court in Newland v. Sebelius issued a preliminary injunction against the mandate, halting its enforcement against a family-run business in Colorado. While the opinion is certainly an encouraging start, as it may foreshadow a more significant blow to the Obama Administration’s anti-conscience mandate, it has a limited immediate application. The foundational American principle of freedom of conscience is far from secure.

The American public still strongly believes the principle is worth protecting.  Polls consistently show that more Americans oppose the mandate than support it and that the majority of Americans approve of conscience exemptions.

AUL continues to urge the Obama Administration to act swiftly to comprehensively protect freedom of conscience and to rescind the mandate’s required coverage for drugs and devices with known life-ending mechanisms of action, including the abortion-inducing drug ella.

However, the HHS mandate is not the only problematic provision of the ACA.  An abortion agenda has been woven throughout the law.  For this reason, AUL support efforts to repeal and replace the healthcare law.  For more information on the life-affirming principles that real healthcare must encompass, visit