Summary:

UPDATE: BDF has filed amicus briefs in HHS lawsuits in the Supreme Court and across the country exposing how Obamacare's HHS "preventive health" Mandate requires drugs classified as carcinogenic by the World Health Organization, and ignores serious health risks to women, including stroke, heart attack, breast cancer, HIV and more.

 

The USA Today editorial board concluded that the Obama administration's so-called contraceptive mandate "not only crossed the line. It galloped over it."  Learn more about this religious liberty violation, and read our official comment to HHS addressing (1) material cooperation with evil still required under the so-called accomodation, and (2) the science showing that the mandated drugs are capable of terminating human life.  

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The HHS Contraceptive/Abortifacient Mandate: The Real War on Women's Health and Religious Liberty

 

                Read BDF's SCOTUS BRIEF on Contraceptive/Abortifacient Health Risks

Download a FACTSHEET on Contraceptive/Abortifacient Health Risks

 

For a complete analysis of the failed "contraceptive project" embodied in the HHS Mandate, see this cutting edge law review article by George Mason Law Professor Helen Alvaré, "No Compelling Interest: The 'Birth Control' Mandate and Religious Freedom" (May 2013).

  

 

BDF Exposes HHS "Women's Preventive Healthcare" Mandate Requires Carcinogenic Contraceptives 

 

Bioethics Defense Fund has filed amicus briefs in HHS Mandate lawsuits in the Supreme Court Hobby Lobby/Conestoga Woods case and around the country exposing that the government completely ignored the science showing that hormonal contraceptive and abortifacient drugs are not "women's preventive healthcare" because they significantly increase women's health risks including risks of breast cancer, cervical cancer, stroke, heart attack and HIV. 
 

The amicus briefs represent research institutes and others to expose that in their quest to facilitate empty sex that leads to highter STD rates and the sexual exploitation of women -- even at the expense of religious employers and employers of conscience -- the HHS and the Institute of Medicine report on which it relied didn't even mention that the World Health Organization has classified combined oral contraceptive pills as "Group 1: Carcinogenic to Humans" -- i.e., they are known to cause cancer. 

Hormonal Contraceptives are high-powered steroidal drugs.  They fail the most basic test of "preventive" health care because they INCREASE risk of disease instead of decreasing it.  By failing to even address this information, and by forcing employers to facilitate the increased use of these drugs, who is really waging a war on women?
 

  • Learn more! Read the full Amicus brief and see a November 2013 DC Circuit Court ruling recognizing the carcinogenic classification.
  • Download a FACTSHEET on Contraceptive/Abortifacient Health Risks

 

 

 

 

 


November 1, 2013 -- The prestigious D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals in Gilardi v. Sebelius expressly cited BDF's amicus brief to recognize that the Government has selectively ignored research that the mandated drugs are not women's "preventive" healthcare because they increase risk of cancer and other serious disease.  As stated by Judge Janet Brown in the majority decision:

Equally unconvincing is the government’s assertion that the mandate averts “negative health consequences for both the woman and the developing fetus.” From the outset, we note the science is debatable and may actually undermine the government’s cause. For the potential mother, as one amicus notes, the World Health Organization classifies certain oral contraceptives as carcinogens, marked by an increased risk for breast, cervical, and liver cancers. Br. of the Breast Cancer Prevention Institute, at 8–9.   On the other hand, the contraceptives at issue have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration, supported by research touting their benefits. See Op. of Edwards, J., at 30. This tug-of-war gives us pause because the government has neither acknowledged nor resolved these contradictory claims.

See p. 26 of the Full Decision.

 

November 2, 2012 -- RELIGIOUS LIBERTY VICTORY! BDF is pleased to announce that the federal district court in Michigan ruled in favor of preliminarily enjoining the HHS Mandate against a Catholic business owner and his business.  BDF filed an amicus brief in favor of the plaintiff business and the Legatus organization.  Read about the ruling in this Reuters report.
 

October 12, 2012 - BDF files amicus brief on behalf of Women Speak for Themselves in support of Belmont Abbey and Wheaton College.  Read the press release 

 
Sept. 28, 2012 -- BDF Brief Exposes Women's Health Risks of HHS Contraceptive Mandate

A federal court has allowed the filing of an amicus brief exposing how the Obamacare "preventive health" Mandate issued by HHS ignores serious health risks to women including stroke, heart attack, increased risks of cancer and STIs.

Read the press release with links to the brief and the court's order.

 

 

July 27, 2012.  RELIGIOUS LIBERTY VICTORY. Bioethics Defense Fund congratulates our colleague Matt Bowman of ADF for securing an injunction of the HHS mandate. The ruling of the Carter-appointed federal judge applies only to Hercules Industries, a self-insured business owned by Catholics who object to the abortion pill/sterilization mandate that violates their religious beliefs and convictions. You can read the full opinion on the BDF website.

 

 

 

READ OUR OFFICIAL COMMENT LETTER TO HHS

 

BDF and Life Legal Defense Foundation filed an official comment with HHS addressing (1) material cooperation with evil, and (2) the science showing that the mandated drugs are capable of terminating human life. (PDF Here)

 

The comment was filed on behalf of Rev. Thomas V. Berg, PhD, chair of moral theology at St. Joseph's Seminary in Yonkers, New York; James C. Capretta, a public policy expert and Fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, D.C.; and Maureen L. Condic, PhD, a research scientist and professor of human embryology.

 

 

 

ACADEMICS LETTER: "Unacceptable:" Read the letter denouncing the HHS "compromise" signed by over 118 notable Scholars, Journalists and National prolife leaders including BDF’s Nikas and Bordlee.

 

USA Today: U.S. Bishops: Obama so-called compromise is "UNACCEPTABLE."

 

Read the White House Doublespeak: "White House Fact Sheet: Women's Preventive Services and Religious Institutions"

 

 

BDF Blog: HHS Issues Rules on Abortion Premiums in the Obamacare Exchanges

 

BDF Blog: BDF at the Supreme Court Obamacare Oral Arguments


ABORTION IN OBAMACARE:  Read about BDF's brief to the Supreme Court exposing the abortion premium mandate



Nikas and Bordlee Interviewed in NRO

 

National Review Online's Kathryn Jean Lopez interviews BDF's Nikas and Bordlee about the Supreme Court's Obamacare ruling.

 

A 'Tax on Pro-Life Conscience'

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.

Continue Reading at NRO



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Join BDF in defending Life and Religious Liberty
via education, legislation and litigation.

 

  • Media Coverage
  • Three Things Everyone Should Know about the HHS Mandate
  • The Fig Leaf on Obamacare’s HHS Mandate
  • Morals and Mandates

HHS Mandate: The Real War On Women

The Hidden War on Women: Brief in HHS Case Exposes Ignored Contraceptive Health Risks

 

By including contraceptive and abortifacient drugs as "preventive" healthcare under the HHS Mandate, the Government ignored research showing that these drugs significantly increase risks of cancers, stroke, and a host of other serious diseases.

Read more . . .

 

Just the Facts: Women, the Elections, and the Medical Case against Obamacare

 

Fact and myth have become intermingled when it comes to the Affordable Health Care Act’s HHS Mandate. Amidst the clang and clamour of Presidential Election campaign taglines, the truth about the actual effects of Obamacare on women’s health and religious liberty is in need of greater national public attention than ever before.

Read more . . .

 

8th Circuit Blocks Obamacare Mandate

 

A federal appeals court has granted an injunction blocking the enforcement of the Obamacare mandate that companies must provide insurance coverage for contraceptives and abortifacients in violation of business owners’ religious beliefs.

Read more . . .

 

Obamacare Roadblock in Appeals Court

 

The Obamacare bill ran into another judicial roadblock yesterday. The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals enjoined federal officials from telling a private business to cover “birth control,” including pills, devices, and even surgery. The business sued on religious-freedom grounds. But the real winning evidence against Obamacare this time might have been medical, not philosophical or libertarian.

Read more . . .

 

Legal Victory against Obamacare 'Mandate' -- Brief Warns Feds President's Plan Could Kill Women

 

A federal appeals court has agreed with three U.S. district judges and blocked the enforcement of the Obamacare “mandate” that would have forced a Missouri company to pay for health insurance including abortifacients in violation of the religious beliefs of the owners.

Read more . . .

 

Legal Victory against Obamacare 'Mandate'

 

A federal appeals court has agreed with three U.S. district judges and blocked the enforcement of the Obamacare “mandate” that would have forced a Missouri company to pay for health insurance including abortifacients in violation of the religious beliefs of the owners.

Read more . . .

 

8th Circuit Blocks Obamacare Mandate

 

A federal appeals court has granted an injunction blocking the enforcement of the Obamacare mandate that companies must provide insurance coverage for contraceptives and abortifacients in violation of business owners’ religious beliefs.

Read more . . .

 

Legal Victory against Obamacare 'Mandate'

 

A federal appeals court has agreed with three U.S. district judges and blocked the enforcement of the Obamacare “mandate” that would have forced a Missouri company to pay for health insurance including abortifacients in violation of the religious beliefs of the owners.

Read more . . .

 

HHS Mandate: The Real War On Women

Three Things Everyone Should Know about the HHS Mandate

 

The Corner, NRO
Published: Feb. 7, 2012

 

It is a remarkable time in current events when we witness a major media outlet calling out a liberal president for disregarding the moral tenets of the Catholic Church. But that’s exactly what happened when the USA Today editorial board concluded that the Obama administration’s so-called contraceptive mandate “not only crossed the line. It galloped over it.”

 

The accompanying opposing view authored by HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is breath-taking in its audacity. The USA Today editorial actually did a decent job of debunking three lines of defense that the Obama administration is spouting. While a much longer treatment is called for, here’s three quick facts that everyone should know:

 

1)It’s an abortifacient mandate; not just a “contraceptive mandate.”
The HHS rule requires large employers to provide insurance for free sterilizations, abortion-inducing drugs, and artificial contraceptives. Our side would do well to refer to it as the “abortifacient mandate.”

 

2) The religious exemption is absolutely meaningless.
The so-called religious exemption is written so narrowly that, as one commentator noted, even Jesus and his twelve disciples wouldn’t qualify. Here’s why: A “religious employer” is defined in the rule as an organization that meets all four of the following criteria: (1) the organization’s purpose is the inculcation of religious values (Catholic food banks are out); (2) the organization primarily employs persons who share the religious tenets of the organization (Catholic universities are out); (3) the organization serves primarily persons who share the religious tenets of the organization (Catholic hospitals are out); and (4) the organization is a nonprofit that is a house of worship or religious order. Given that houses of worship and religious orders exist with a mission to serve the least amongst us regardless of their faith, that means requirement (3) is not met, so everyone is out.

 

3) Contraceptive drugs are carcinogenic.
It’s one thing for Secretary Sebelius to champion the pill for what she sees as a requirement for women’s freedom and autonomy. That’s an argument for another day. But the secretary goes beyond that to claim that artificial contraceptives “have significant benefits for [women’s] health, as well as the health of their children.” Well. It’s hard to believe that the secretary is not aware that combined estrogen progestogen oral contraceptives (COCs) are classified as “Group 1: Carcinogenic to humans” by the International Agency for Research on Cancer of the World Health Organization. The American Cancer Society website has published that list, where the pill ranks along side asbestos, coal tar, benzene, and tobacco products.

 

Secretary Sebelius and the White House claim the HHS mandate “respects” religious liberty. They’ve shown about as much respect for the First Amendment as they have for the truth.

 

UPDATE: The NCI’s Q and A on oral contraceptives and cancer risk can be reviewed here.

 

— Nikolas T. Nikas and Dorinda C. Bordlee are the founders of the Bioethics Defense Fund, a public interest legal and educational organization. The attorneys of The Becket Fund have compiled a more in-depth fact sheet about the White House’s false HHS claims that can be reviewed here.

HHS Mandate: The Real War On Women

The Fig Leaf on Obamacare’s HHS Mandate: 3 Things Everyone Should Know

 

by Nikolas T. Nikas and Dorinda C. Bordlee,
Bioethics Defense Fund
 
info@bdfund.org
February 12, 2012
See Fact Sheets and more info below

 

The President’s so-called “compromise” on the HHS abortifacient mandate is a nothing but a thinly-veiled attempt to hide the Big Brother tactic of compulsion of conscience under the fig leaf of “free contraceptive coverage” from the employer’s insurance companies. Here are three things that everyone should know about the unacceptable scheme:

 

1. The HHS mandate is Obamacare in action. In his statement to the nation following a firestorm of criticism from even his closest public supporters, the President actually finalized the exact same HHS mandate that has been publicized and highly criticized. It is important to understand that the administration is now officially implementing the vast power granted to it under the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). As Bioethics Defense Fund has exposed in our public education about the language of the bill since its introduction in 2009, Obamacare gives Secretary Sebelius vast and unchecked discretion to implement onerous government regulations that are not subject to the approval of Congress.

 

2. Religious Employers Still Underwrite the “Free” Objectionable Services. As set forth in the White House’s own “Factsheet” below, the President has now issued an empty “compromise” promise that HHS will at some point fashion a new fig leaf rule. The yet undefined rule will allegedly enable employees of objecting religious employers to get coverage for the abortifacient drugs and sterilizations “free” from the employer’s insurance company itself.Anyone with even a basic understanding of economics can see that the employer is still paying for the coverage. The insurance company will simply increase the base health benefits premium charged to the religious employer, so that the “free” abortifacient coverage will not bankrupt the insurance company. Further, many religious employers are self-insured. Therefore, religious employers are still in the exact same boat.

 

3. Lay Employers who have conscience objections are out in the cold. The fig leaf proposal by the President also wholly fails to provide any exemption to lay people who have religious or moral objections to providing coverage for abortion-inducing drugs, contraceptives and sterilizations. Lay Catholics and other people of conscience who run businesses are still compelled by the now finalized HHS Rule; the fig leaf promise won’t apply to them at all.

 

CONCLUSION: The deceptive White House proposal is simply “unacceptable” as confirmed in a concise letter by over 118 (and counting) leading scholars, journalists and public-interest leaders (including Bioethics Defense Fund). The letter was drafted by Notre Dame law professor O. Carter Snead and signed by leading scholars such as Harvard law professor Mary Ann Glendon, and Princeton professor Robert P. George.

 

The bottom line is that the fig leaf proposal issued on Friday by the White House reveals that this administration believes the American people are gullible and unaware that there is no such thing as a free lunch. The moral absurdity of the fig leaf proposal is akin to saying, “Okay, fine. You don’t have to kill that person; just give the money to a hit man and he will kill the person . . . for free.”

 

THREE THINGS: BDF’s NRO Post: Three Things Everyone Should Know about the HHS Mandate

 

ACADEMICS LETTER: “Unacceptable”: Read the letter denouncing the HHS “compromise” signed by over 118 notable Scholars, Journalists and National prolife leaders including BDF’s Nikas and Bordlee.

 

USA Today: U.S. Bishops: Obama so-called compromise is “UNACCEPTABLE.”

 

Read the White House Doublespeak: “White House Fact Sheet: Women’s Preventive Services and Religious Institutions”

 

HHS Mandate: The Real War On Women

Morals and Mandates

 

by Sherif Girgis and Robert P. George

February 14, 2012

 

Morality is not about keeping as long a leash as you can on the harms you cause. It is about keeping upright intentions and rejecting unfair tradeoffs—neither of which Obama’s proposed revision even pretends to affect.

 

 

On January 20, the Obama administration proposed a federal regulation that was promptly denounced, in the strongest terms, by voices from across the political and religious spectrum. Critics of every persuasion condemned it as a gross violation of religious liberty and the rights of conscience. Why? It required many Catholic and other religious institutions and individual employers, in violation of their religious and moral convictions, to provide insurance policies covering abortion-inducing drugs, sterilizations, and contraceptives.

 

On February 10, some of these same critics praised the Obama administration for promising to revise the regulation to, at one step remove, require many Catholic and other religious institutions and individual employers, in violation of their religious and moral convictions, to offer insurance policies covering abortion-inducing drugs, sterilizations, and contraceptives.

 

In a press conference, President Obama tried to explain the difference. Under the new plan, if a non-profit organization not otherwise exempted is religiously opposed to contraception or abortion-drugs, then the insurance company (not the religious organization itself) “will be required to reach out and offer the woman contraceptive care free of charge… [so that] religious organizations won’t have to pay for these services, and no religious institution will have to provide these services directly.”

 

Of course, President Obama cannot make abortion drugs or contraceptives actually cost-free. By requiring insurance companies to offer employees these services “free of charge,” he is effectively ensuring that their costs are shifted to employer-paid premiums. So under both versions of the regulation, thousands of employers will be forced to pay for services that violate their moral and religious beliefs.

 

Then perhaps the difference is that with the latest change, employers will no longer be required to “provide these services directly”? But no employer was ever required to provide these “services;” that is, to dispense contraceptive and abortion-inducing drugs, or perform sterilizations.

 

Let’s try a third time. According to the revised proposal, released late on February 10, insurance companies will now be required (a) to make “insurance without contraception coverage” available for religiously affiliated employers to buy for their employees, and (b) “simultaneously to offer contraceptive coverage directly to the employer’s plan participants who desire it,” for free and without cost-sharing. Perhaps here lie the distinctions that are meant to make a moral difference?

 

Robert Hockett, a Cornell University law professor and a thoughtful, fair-minded liberal Catholic, entertains the possibility. He sees two ways to understand the new mandate, two scenarios for how it might play out: one deeply objectionable, the other perhaps not.

 

In the first, all non-exempted employers must buy insurance policies that cover contraceptives and abortion-drugs. The difference is just that religiously affiliated employers can leave to insurance companies the dirty work of notifying employees of this coverage. This proposal, Hockett thinks, would be empty and disingenuous, “a mere ‘speak no evil…’ allowance” for religious institutions. We couldn’t agree more.

 

But Professor Hockett is friendlier to the second possibility he envisages: Religious employers buy their employees an insurance policy that does not cover contraceptives and abortion-drugs, but the insurance company must then offer those same employees a second policy that does.

 

Hockett suggests the possibility that this latter option needn’t involve religious groups endorsing contraception or abortion—just as the government needn’t be endorsing religious groups when it funds their schools. In the latter case, Hockett has argued, the government just allocates a certain sum of money for each person’s education, and parents’ choices are what channel some of it toward religious education.

 

Nothing released by the administration clarifies which scenario it has in mind. But when pressed for details Friday morning, senior White House aides told the USCCB that what insurers must separately provide to employees of objecting religious institutions is not a second policy, nor a rider on the first, but just the offer of extra coverage (for the morally controversial items), which the employee can accept at no charge.

 

So the administration’s tack seems to fall between the two possibilities that Hockett envisages. Employees of religiously affiliated institutions will receive just one policy, and its controversial parts will be advertised by insurers, as in the first scenario. But as in the second, coverage for contraceptives and abortifacients won’t be automatic because the one policy will have two tiers for employees to choose from: the first (to exclude contraceptive coverage) described by employers to their employees, and the second (to include contraceptive coverage) described directly by insurance companies to employees. Nothing is finalized—the administration’s written descriptions are exceptionally vague—but this is the best conjecture.

 

Now, having crossed our eyes to split these hairs, we can turn to our central point: none of these distinctions could make a moral difference. And that is not merely because this “compromise” makes no attempt to respect the rights of religiously observant employers (including owners of or shareholders in insurance companies), or religiously affiliated self-insurers. For even laying that extremely important issue aside, no matter which version of the new mandate is finally implemented, it will not differ in moral substance from the original. Any good objection to the first would apply with similar force to the second. And the contrary impression owes more to an aversion—understandable, but not morally significant—to the sheer fact of being too “close” to wrongdoing, than it does to sober reflection on the morally bad effects of such “closeness.”

 

Here it will be useful to recall an important distinction that the Western moral tradition has relied on for centuries, between two types of cooperation in another’s wrongs: formal and material. In both, you play some role in someone else’s wrongful act. But in what is called “formal” cooperation, you share the wrongdoer’s intention: the object of his act, which renders it immoral. In merely “material” cooperation, you don’t.

 

Formal cooperation with wrongdoing is always wrong. If it is wrong to rob a house, surely it is wrong to help a robber up to the window so that he can do the deed. More to the point, if it is wrong to use the “five days after” pill, which can prevent conception but also work by causing embryonic death, it’s also wrong for a pharmacy owner to stock her pharmacy with the drug so that those seeking to abort a newly conceived child can accomplish their goal. In both examples, the wrongdoer and the cooperator have the same (wrongful) objective.

 

Material cooperation, on the other hand, is not always wrong, and indeed can’t always be avoided. We are too interconnected for that. A cheery barista might well know that a triple espresso she sells today will likely caffeinate someone’s hurtful outburst at work. That makes her a material cooperator with intemperance, but not necessarily guilty of anything. And yet a bartender who hands a drunken customer his keys might share the blame for pedestrian injuries, however much he had hoped that the man’s drive home would pass without incident.

 

What marks the difference? What makes material cooperation wrong, when it is wrong?

 

Morality is fundamentally a matter of (a) your intentions—which, by definition, aren’t the issue in merely material cooperation, only in formal—and of (b) the fairness of your choice as judged by its foreseen good and bad effects upon all concerned.

 

It is true that moralists draw a further distinction between “proximate” and “remote” material cooperation; but that is because material cooperation often has worse effects as a result of being more immediate. Of course, this doesn’t always hold. And even when it does, it is the additional harms—not the immediacy of your involvement itself—that make a difference (perhaps decisively) for moral evaluation.

 

These additional harms include all the wrongs that would have been averted if you hadn’t played a role; their toll on others; and the false beliefs about right and wrong that people infer from your involvement, to name but three of many possible factors.

 

With this framework in place, we can see that the Obama administration’s proposed changes would really change nothing that matters morally.

 

To begin with, neither before nor after the February 10th “compromise” would the mandate require religious objectors to cooperate formally in what they considered wrongdoing—i.e., to intend that their employees make use of contraceptives, sterilization, or abortion-drugs. Both would, however, require material cooperation.

 

And that material cooperation would have substantially similar bad effects. After all, before and after the change, employees would have coverage for contraceptives and abortion drugs by virtue of their religiously affiliated (or religiously observant, or morally conscientious) employers’ insurance contracts. Before and after, employers who oppose these drugs would nevertheless be required to select, contract, and—let’s drop the charade—pay for plans by which their employees obtained coverage for them.

 

Either way, then, the mandate would violate religious liberty and freedom of conscience:

 

First, it would dramatically compromise the mission of religiously affiliated institutions to give witness to the moral teachings of their faith. People would wonder, for example, how serious the Catholic Church could really be about the idea that abortion takes innocent life, if it contracts with companies that offer coverage for abortion drugs and even pays (directly or “indirectly”) for that coverage. If the Church violates by purse what it professes by word, how seriously can we take its word? The same could be said of individual Catholic employers or self-consciously Catholic business firms—and not only the Catholic ones.

 

Second, the involvement of thousands of religious institutions—by signaling moral indifference and providing funds—would (eventually) lead to more acts of the sort that the faith condemns as morally wrongful and even, as with abortion, gravely unjust. Religious groups’ involvement would thus multiply what they regarded as serious moral and other harms. And it would eliminate none of these effects to add an easy middle step between an institution’s purchase of a policy, and the employee’s use of it for abortion or contraception.

 

We accept the implication, raised by Professor Hockett, that there is a formal parallel between the federal government’s cooperation in religious education via school vouchers, and employers’ cooperation in abortion and contraception under the proposed mandate. We just think that while the first fully respects non-establishment, properly understood, the second violates religious liberty.

 

But if the Obama administration’s “compromise” doesn’t eliminate formal cooperation (which was never really at issue), if it doesn’t let religious institutions escape material cooperation or even curb such cooperation’s bad effects, why did it draw sighs of relief from prominent Catholics who supported Obama in 2008 despite his extraordinary promise and record of support for abortion?

 

Perhaps some who first criticized Obama for violating religious liberty and now praise his “compromise” think that the revised plan marked a shift from requiring employers’ formal complicity to requiring just material cooperation. Others, however, might just think that it makes a moral difference, in itself, whether one is at four steps’ remove from a wrong, or just three.

 

All that the “compromise” means, after all, is that tapping into the contraceptive coverage will now require an extra step: the employee’s formal acceptance of the insurance company’s offer—acceptance which would have been required anyway in the more casual form of reimbursement requests.

 

But surely it can’t matter as such how many links there are in the chain connecting our actions to what we consider morally wrongful acts—or, to switch metaphors, how many dominoes have to fall before the expected harms result. To think otherwise is to succumb to the superstition that we might catch blame by causal closeness to immoral acts, as we might catch a cold by being close to the contagion. It is to be concerned with aesthetic problems, and content with cosmetic solutions; to see one’s complicity not as bad, but too bald.

 

Morality is not about keeping as long a leash as you can on the harms you cause. It is about keeping upright intentions and rejecting unfair tradeoffs—neither of which Obama’s proposed revision even pretends to affect. So we see no way around the conclusion that the “compromise” is ultimately an accounting trick. No mere “revision” will make the mandate pass muster. It must be rescinded.

 

 

Sherif Girgis is a PhD Candidate in Philosophy at Princeton University and a law student at Yale University. Robert P. George is McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence at Princeton University.

 

Copyright 2012 the Witherspoon Institute. All rights reserved.

 

 

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