Friday, February 17, 2012

Response From John Barrasso

Dear John,
It is a permissible reading of the 1st Amendment to say that if prohibiting the exercise of religion is not the object of the Affordable Care Act but merely the incidental effect of a generally applicable and otherwise valid provision, like requiring insurers to provide contraception coverage, then the First Amendment has not been offended....To make an individuals obligation to obey such a law contingent upon the laws coincidence with his religious beliefs, except where the States interest is compelling-permitting him/her, by virtue of his/her beliefs, to become a law unto himself, contradicts both constitutional tradition and common sense. To adopt a true compelling interest requirement for laws that affect religious practice would lead towards anarchy.
As with its ruling in Lying v. Northwest Indian Cemetery Association, the Court warned of the perils of allowing a religious group to have veto power over laws. The neutrality of laws and their general applicability protect them from First Amendment challenge.
Sent: Friday, February 17, 2012 1:58 PM
Subject: Response From John Barrasso

Dear William,

Thank you for taking the time to contact me.  I appreciate hearing from you.

I noted your support for the regulations issued by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) regarding insurance coverage for contraceptive services.  After practicing medicine for over 25 years, I feel that health care decisions are best made when left between the patient and their chosen medical provider.  However, I do not believe that the government should mandate private organizations provide insurance coverage for services that violate their religious beliefs.  This is a clear violation of religious freedom guaranteed to all persons by the 1st Amendment.

Again, thank you for contacting me.  While we disagree on this matter, I value your input and hope that you will continue to keep me informed about the issues that are important to you.

John Barrasso, M.D.                                                                         
United States Senator

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