ILLINOIS REVIEW EXCLUSIVE
By Congressman Randy Hultgren -
It is an essential principle of America’s Founding—a principle which has continued throughout our history—that every American citizen should be free to live and work according to their beliefs without fear of punishment by the government.
This principle extends to family business owners, those who have an idea and start their own companies to create, produce and sell that idea in order to make a living. Americans don’t give up their religious freedom when they open a family business or enter the workforce.
Tomorrow, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments over whether or not the government can force Americans to give up their rights of conscience when they start a business.
Under the HHS mandate of the Affordable Care Act—Obamacare—companies are being forced to pay for health coverage that includes potentially life-terminating drugs and devices. Many Americans are rightfully morally opposed to paying for drugs that can destroy a human embryo, whether or not the drugs are actually marketed as abortion-inducing.
In fact, a majority of Americans are opposed to taxpayer funding of abortion. That’s why I have voted to pass pro-life legislation like H.R. 7, the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act, a bill I co-sponsored which codifies the patchwork of federal provisions that ensure no taxpayer dollars pay for abortions. For a list of pro-life legislation I have pressed for in the House, please click here.
Owners of businesses like Hobby Lobby have expressed their opposition—based on deeply held beliefs—to paying for drugs that destroy a human embryo. While our society has traditionally respected the freedom of its citizens to live out their convictions at home and in the workplace, the cries of these business owners have fallen on deaf ears at the administration. The healthcare law's HHS mandate forces those who stand up for their conscience into a no-win decision. Either they pay crippling fines of up to $100 per employee per day, which equals millions for large companies like Hobby Lobby and could shut down their business, or drop healthcare coverage for everyone who works for them.
These companies want to provide health insurance for their employees and they want to stay in business. But this mandate threatens their ability to do so. More fundamentally, it threatens their religious freedom—and the Supreme Court should reject it.
Respecting freedom of conscience is not subject to the whims and punishments of the federal government. Our Declaration and Bill of Rights were written to make sure our rights are protected from government overreach.
And no American family should be forced to choose between following their faith and submitting to unlawful and unnecessary government mandates.
Randy Hultgren represents Illinois’ 14th U.S. Congressional District.