CONCORD – House Speaker William O’Brien (R-Mont Vernon) and House Majority Leader Pete Silva (R-Nashua) offered the following comments on a controversial portion of Obamacare going into effect today mandating contraception coverage. The mandate requires health insurance companies to provide free contraception for women, including coverage of the morning after pill, to which many religious employers are morally opposed.
Though the Obama Administration called mandating the insurance company to pay, rather than the employing organization, a compromise—the employing organization would still be required to pay for such insurance plan or face a hefty fine from the federal government.
House Speaker William O’Brien
“Individuals and groups who sought to escape the religious discrimination of Europe founded our country. They enshrined the then novel and extraordinary concept of religious liberty in the First Amendment to our federal constitution. Religious freedom became part of state constitutions. To use the parlance of our times, religious freedom is in the DNA of America.
“In the New Hampshire constitution, religious liberty likewise is recognized as a state constitutional right. Part 1, Article 5 of our constitution states, ‘Every individual has a natural and unalienable right to worship God according to the dictates of his own conscience, and reason; and no subject shall be hurt, molested, or restrained . . . for worshipping God in the manner and season most agreeable to the dictates of his own conscience . . .’
“Those who would bring the religious discrimination of the old world to our country, along with its big government solutions, celebrate today a milestone in their journey—a journey that has been travelled so far by old Europe. They have sought to obscure their war on religion by claiming it is a victory of expanding health care benefits. They have argued that a government entitlement paid by others is more significant than those individuals’ right to worship God according to the dictates of their conscience.
“Obamacare promises financial disaster to this country. But today we also see a clear example of how it will not just rob of us of our prosperity; it also will lead to a government that tramples on freedom. According to those who support Obamacare, individuals can no longer say that they have well-founded and long-standing religious beliefs that prohibit them from buying medical services to end the lives of the unborn.
“They must buckle to the dictates of those who first attack religion and then seek success in doing so by declaring that the reaction is a war on women.
“As legislators, it is our obligation to protect and vindicate constitutional rights. It is our obligation to never forget and never abandon the principles upon which this country and our state were founded. We will continue, therefore, our opposition to Obamacare and its attack on religion. We will remind voters of their need to use the ballot box to reject these attacks on liberty. We will not abandon our goal of protecting in statute the religious freedom that is part of the DNA of New Hampshire and America.”
House Majority Leader Pete Silva
“Government should not be in the business of forcing people to pay for something against their religious teachings and beliefs so that people who do want it don't have to pay for it. Health insurance costs in New Hampshire are increasing at dramatic rates. New Hampshire businesses are seeing 60% premium increases. Much of those increases come from health insurance mandates and we don’t need even further mandates to drive the costs astronomically higher. Earlier this session, Republicans passed legislation that repealed seven insurance mandates and this has helped small businesses to escape some cost increases. The extra savings from premiums means there is more money in the pockets of our small businesses hopefully to create more jobs.
“This is the right way to reform the health care industry. Obamacare is not. Imposing anti-religious regulations on churches, under the guise of ‘women’s rights,’ achieves no reduction of costs or availability of services and serves only to please those seeking to advance their social agenda.”