A ‘Tax on Pro-Life Conscience’

By Kathryn Jean Lopez/The National Review

That’s what Bioethics Defense Fund attorneys Nikolas T. Nikas and Dorinda C. Bordlee are calling the impact of today’s Supreme Court ruling on Americans who happen to oppose abortion. They answered some questions about just what they mean over e-mail this afternoon:

What does today’s health-care decision mean for the dignity of human life?

The dignity of human life is now under tremendous threat. Because Obamacare contains conscience-violating mandates concerning abortion and abortion-inducing drugs, this decision effectively imposes a tax on pro-life conscience. This is because the U.S. Supreme Court majority upheld the Obamacare law in its entirety under the unexpected reasoning that the “penalty” imposed on citizens who do not buy approved insurance is a “tax,” and thus legitimate under the federal government’s taxing power. The dissent characterized the majority’s ruling as illegitimate “judicial tax-writing.”

How and why is abortion even a part of the president’s health-care law?

As we explain in our amicus brief to the Supreme Court, Obamacare contains an unconstitutional “abortion-premium mandate” that could put millions of Americans into conscience-violating situations where they will be required to pay out of their own pockets a separate premium that must be placed by their insurer into an allocation account designated solely to fund other people’s elective abortions. The Act explicitly says that no enrollees in plans that cover abortion can decline the coverage for reasons of age, sex or marital status. While the Amish are allowed to opt-out of Obamacare’s individual mandate, pro-life citizens are not able to opt out for reasons of moral objection to abortion. We argue that this is a classic violation of the Free Exercise Clause. So the Obamacare lawsuits on religious-liberty grounds are just beginning. This is far from over.

Why should we believe you?

The president said differently. We read the law, and laid it all out in our Supreme Court amicus brief on behalf of seven medical organizations. We summarized our exposé and the president’s word games here.

Do you dismiss the care of people once they are alive?

Actually, as advocates for the dignity of human life, we understand that unborn children are human beings who are indeed “alive” and entitled to special protection as the most vulnerable members of the human family. Authentic health-care reform must be promoted and enacted in a way that the unborn, the elderly, and the disabled are given the full protection of the law, rather than being treated as disposable at the government’s whim — whether by a politically appointed panel in Washington, D.C., or the bureaucracy of the HHS department.

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