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Murkowski Fights for Religious Freedom from Health Care Mandate

Senator Co-Sponsors Legislation, Writes Letter to Editor of Catholic Anchor

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Lisa Murkowski today co-sponsored S. 2043, The Religious Freedom Restoration Act  that would halt the recent Obama Administration directive that some religiously-affiliated institutions will be required to defy their belief systems when providing some health care services for current employees.

“Religious freedoms are a large part of what makes this country great,” Murkowski said.  “This is a Catholic issue as well as a concern for every Baptist, Jew, Muslim or anyone of faith – protecting every American’s freedom to practice their religion as protected by the very first Amendment to the Constitution.”

S. 2043, The Religious Freedom Restoration Act, would repeal any requirement in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that would require any individual or entity to offer, provide, or purchase coverage for a contraceptive or sterilization service to which that individual or entity is opposed on the basis of religious belief.

In addition to co-sponsoring the legislation, today Senator Murkowski wrote a letter to the editor of the Catholic Anchor in Anchorage, saying:

Dear Editor –
As a Catholic and a U.S. Senator, I have long embraced and touted the protections that our Constitution bestows upon our religious liberties. 

The freedom of religion is a cornerstone of this country, having been placed in the base of our young nation by the founders within the First Amendment.

Unfortunately, the Obama administration unilaterally has determined that religious hospitals, charities, and schools will be required to go against their deeply-held – and Constitutionally-protected – beliefs when offering health care services to current employees.

Worse still is the olive branch extended by the Department of Health and Human Services: religious institutions have a year to compromise on their beliefs and adhere to this policy. It is insulting that this Administration believes that a year delay in implementation of this rule would cause more Americans to change their position, their conscience, their belief on a fundamental freedom such as this.

I agree with our Archbishop Schwietz when he said “People of faith cannot be made second class citizens. We are already joined by our brothers and sisters of all faiths and many others of good will in this important effort to regain our religious freedom.”

I also agree with Cardinal-designate Timothy Dolan, the president of the US bishops' conference, who said the Obama Administration "has now drawn an unprecedented line in the sand.”

I worry that line in the sand now threatens the invaluable one that separates church and state for Americans of all creeds.

Sincerely,
Senator Lisa Murkowski

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