CONCORD - New Hampshire House Majority Leader D.J. Bettencourt (R-Salem) today gave the folowing remarks at a press conference discussing a resolution calling on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to rescind the rule mandating contraception coverage:
"I’m pleased to support this important resolution that is needed to push back against yet another misguided element of Obamacare.
As with so much of Obamacare, it is free citizens, churches and companies that are being coerced into a particular course of action when they were previously free to chose, and in this circumstance it is the Federal Government that is doing the imposing.
It is incredibly disappointing to see the Obama Administration is distracted from focusing on our fragile economy and is instead involving itself in social issues which the Federal Government has no business.
It was interesting to hear the President’s Chief of Staff yesterday morning on “Meet the Press” roll out a straw man argument by saying that because some Catholic institutions receive government funds through Medicare and Medicaid they should therefore be subject to these mandates. That argument is not just irrelevant to the point at issue, but it is also false. Dollars from Washington do not each carry a ridder noting that their transmission deprives recipients of all Constitutional protections. If they did, retired Americans could be politically silenced by their Social Security checks. Such a scenario is of course ridiculous, so why are hospitals and religious institutions any different.
Moreover, no matter how hard the administration tries to spin the “compromises” they released late last week, the reality is that it is merely a symbolically tweaked plan that moves forward with trampling Americans’ religious liberties while pretending to accommodate them. In truth, nothing of substance has changed from the original announcement that religious employers will be forced to provide services they find morally objectionable.
That is wrong and we must stand up to the heavy handedness of the White House. The American people are guaranteed the right to religious liberty by the First Amendment. That means protecting both the rights of religious institutions and those of individual citizens.
It’s a shame that the Bishop need to take important time away from the dioceses to defend doctrines of the Catholic faith from this unprovoked attack by the Obama administration.
But we are proud to stand united in defense of the First Amendment and New Hampshire’s long and proud history of religious tolerance."