In Speech, Hatch Blasts Washington Democrats for Ongoing Attacks on Religious Freedom

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Utah Senator says, “To hear members of the Administration and some members of Congress talk, it is clear to me that providing abortion-inducing drugs, sterilizations, and the morning-after pill to women is more important than the First Amendment that we are sworn to the nation and our constituents to defend.”

In a speech on the Senate floor, U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), a current member and former Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, blasted Washington Democrats’ ongoing attacks on religious freedom protections by forcing religious institutions to provide preventive health services, including birth control, abortion inducing drugs and emergency contraception, even if it is against their conscience and deeply-held beliefs.

“To hear members of the Administration and some members of Congress talk, it is clear to me that providing abortion-inducing drugs, sterilizations, and the morning-after pill to women is more important than the First Amendment that we are sworn to the nation and our constituents to defend,” said Hatch. “I do not shock easily, but the cavalier attitude of the President, his administration, and many in Congress to this frontal assault on religious liberty is truly shocking. There was a time when both parties, liberals and conservatives, could come together on the matter of religious liberty. But not any longer.”

To view Hatch’s full speech clickВ HERE.

Below is the text of Hatch’s full speech delivered on the Senate floor this afternoon:

Mr. President, earlier today we were treated to some very partisan remarks from one of my colleagues on the preventive services mandate. That’s the legal term. Here is what that mandate is in practice.

It is a mandate that will require religious individuals and institutions — to purchase abortion-inducing drugs for their employees.  It will require that they purchase insurance coverage that provides for sterilizations and the morning-after pill.

And in doing so, it will require that they violate their most deeply held religious beliefs, in stark contrast to the First Amendment’s guarantee of religious liberty. You would not know that from hearing the other side talk.

You would think that opposition to this mandate was grounded in bigotry, and a lack of concern for our fellow citizens. This is a serious charge — one deserving of a response.

My colleague from California suggested earlier today that the reason Republicans are opposed to this mandate — and the reason that tens of millions of Americans are opposed to this mandate — is because they are anti-woman.

With due respect, one would be hard pressed to concoct a more insidious and misleading explanation of the opposition to this mandate. People are opposed to this mandate for one simple reason — because they are in favor of religious liberty.

They are opposed to it because it is an affront to our constitutional government, to the first right listed in our First Amendment — the right to free exercise of religion. You would not know that from my colleague’s remarks.

She did not even mention the Constitution. Not once. As members of the United States Senate, we take an oath to support and defend the Constitution.

But to hear members of the Administration and some members of Congress talk, it is clear to me that providing abortion-inducing drugs, sterilizations, and the morning-after pill to women is more important than the First Amendment that we are sworn to the nation and our constituents to defend.

I do not shock easily, but the cavalier attitude of the President, his administration, and many in Congress to this frontal assault on religious liberty is truly shocking. There was a time when both parties, liberals and conservatives, could come together on the matter of religious liberty. But not any longer.

And I think it is because for many liberals religion, and the right to practice it freely, are not the foundation of our nation’s liberties.   Rather, they are viewed as a threat to our nation’s liberties.

They don’t understand religious people. I guess we should have seen this coming when the President ran for the White House in 2008, and he referred pejoratively to those Americans who cling to their Bibles.

But the fact is, it was people who clung to their Bibles who were at the forefront of some of our nation’s greatest civil rights struggles and have been most committed to advancing the cause of personal liberty. And they are at the forefront today, serving as a solemn witness of the importance of religious liberty, threatening civil disobedience against the President’s unconstitutional abortion mandate that would force them to violate their most cherished moral beliefs.

Instead of treating these powerful witnesses to our Founding ideals with the respect that they deserve, they are looked at with contempt. This morning, one of my colleagues, referred to a panel testifying about this assault on religious liberty as full of dudes.

Her suggestion was that the all-male composition of this panel somehow serves as proof that the objection to this abortion mandate is due to hostility to women. Give me a break.

Let me tell you who these so-called dudes were.

The Roman Catholic Bishop of Bridgeport, Connecticut.

The President of the Lutheran Church — Missouri Synod.

The Graves Professor of Moral Philosophy at Union University.

The Director of the Straus Center for Torah and Western Thought at Yeshiva University And the Chair of the Ethics Department at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.

These men — who my colleague refers to as dudes — came to Congress to testify about the grave impact that this Obamacare rule poses to religious freedom.

My colleague from California does not mention these other names, because they are inconvenient.

She does not mention Margaret Brining, Mary Keys, and Nicole Garnett of the University of Notre Dame.

She does not mention Harvard’s Mary Ann Glendon, or the University of Chicago’s Jean Bethke Elshtain, or Maria Garlock of Princeton University.

She does not mention Helen Alvare of George Mason University or Maria Aguirre of The Catholic University of America. And she does not mention the Mother Superior of the Sisters for Life. Are they all anti-woman too?

These thoughtful citizens, scholars, and religious deserve our attention — not our ridicule.

Here is the bottom line. Obamacare is an unconstitutional abomination.В В  It is unconstitutional to its core.

The individual mandate is obviously unconstitutional, and the Supreme Court will rule on that soon enough. But what this episode shows is that Obamacare is unconstitutional in its very DNA.

It transfers power over one-sixth of the American economy to the federal government. And the government has proven with this episode that individual liberty is threatened by that transfer of power.

If the Administration cannot be relied on to protect even religious liberty — the right of persons and churches and synagogues — to practice their faith without interference from the state, then nobody is safe.

If they are willing to trammel on the First Amendment, they are willing to trammel on anything. That is the story here.

The story here is that earlier this week, Secretary Sebelius acknowledged to me that she never consulted the Roman Catholic bishops before announcing the politically driven compromise that they would be forced to comply with.

The story here is that Secretary Sebelius admitted that she never requested any First Amendment analysis of this rule from the Department of Justice.

The Administration has clearly decided that this is a political loser for them, so they are trying to change the subject. They send out their surrogates with talking points to say that this is about contraception. It is not. And the American people will not be fooled.

They will not be tricked into thinking that those who oppose this mandate are anti-woman.

Do those who are promoting this spin think that we do not have mothers, wives, and daughters?

Do they think that the women in the Senate and the House, representing millions of more women, are anti-woman?

This is beyond absurd.

And the American people are not dupes.

They know that this rule exists because the Administration is beholden to the pro-abortion lobby.

I can tell you that there is one group that the modern Democratic Party will never cross — NEVER. They will NEVER CROSS the abortion lobby.

And so it is no surprise that the nation’s largest abortion provider — Planned Parenthood — came out in support of the so-called compromise. The Catholic Church, and millions of Americans, however, responded that it is unacceptable. I agree with their assessment. The so-called compromise is nothing of the sort.

But as bad as this mandate is, keep in mind that it is only the beginning.В  It is only the first step in a fresh assault on the constitutional liberties of the American people. Believe me. The tragedy of Obamacare is only beginning.

The other day, former Speaker Pelosi suggested that even the Roman Catholic Church itself should have to provide abortion-inducing drugs to their employees. Catholic bishops would be forced in her regime to subsidize practices that the Church finds morally abhorrent. That is where this is going.

The Administration might feel cowed into providing a weak exception to their rule for religious institutions right now. But in the long run, we know where they want to go. And the result will be bad for men and women alike.

Our Constitution protects all of us, and by undermining religious liberty this Administration goes down a very dangerous path. In so doing, the officers responsible for this decision, if they knew of the serious constitutional issues here and still went ahead with this action for political reasons — violated their oath to uphold the Constitution.

And Congress and the American people are going to hold them accountable. The President and his reelection campaign would prefer that this just go away. Hence, the admonition from the mainstream media that we stop talking about this issue. Well, I for one am not going to stop talking about it. And I am not going away. I’m just getting warmed up. Thank you.

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