|Read our overview on the ruling at http://www.bpnews.net/BPnews.asp?ID=38167. Read comments on the ruling from around the nation at http://www.bpnews.net/BPnews.asp?ID=38173
WASHINGTON (BP) -- When the U.S. Supreme Court upheld President Obama's health care law, it left untouched sections of the law that have concerned members of the pro-life and religious liberty communities for months.
Although those sections often have been overshadowed by debates over the individual mandate, pro-life and religious liberty groups were raising their concerns even before the law passed Congress in 2010.
Following are questions, and answers, about their concerns:
-- Why do pro-life and religious liberty groups oppose the law?
They have several concerns, although two have led the way. First, the health care law subsidizes, through federal tax dollars, insurance plans that cover abortion. Second, the law forces all insurance plans -- with only a few exceptions -- to cover contraceptives, including "emergency contraceptives" that can act after fertilization and cause chemical abortions. It's been dubbed the "contraceptive mandate," even though it impacts far more than basic contraceptives.
-- Don't supporters of the law say federal dollars won't fund abortion?
Yes. The controversy is not over direct funding but over the subsidization of insurance plans that cover abortion, which is a deviation from previous policy. Congress' own insurance plans, for instance, cannot cover abortion. Pro-life groups argue that, under the new law, Americans who previously did not have insurance coverage for abortion will now have it, thus putting the lives of more unborn babies at risk -- and with taxpayers subsidizing it all. In summary: Women who previously could not afford an abortion now might be able to afford one.
-- What are the religious exemptions for the contraceptive mandate? Continued...