People Showed up in Droves to Comment on the Record Against HHS Mandate!
I was shocked and very happy this morning to open the docket page for the HHS Contraception Mandate and see this:
When I looked at that page on Sunday, it was at 80,000. The page count updates nightly at midnight — meaning on Sunday 170,000 public comments were entered!
What is a Public Comment on an Administrative Regulation?
In administrative rules, such as the HHS Contraception Mandate, there is a series of specific legal hurdles that must occur before the administrative rule can be implemented. One of the steps is to give the public time to make comments. Those comments become part of the administrative record, and evidence behind the rule. Everywhere that rule goes, it will have the baggage of these comments. Unlike a petition, public comments are an official part of the record, and are appropriate evidence for courts and legislators who review the rule, if ever implemented.
We were able to piece together statistics and could tell that on average our email announcement was sent to 3 people for every person we sent it to. We’re guessing that between the web page statistics and the email forwards, we reached around 5000 people (although some say the type of statistics we have read very low, so it could have been as high as 15,000!). Our web site sent about 10%, 1 in 10, to the comment page, and we think that means roughly 1 in 10 actually commented. So, while we could guess a real number, it’s safe to say that we helped to put a healthy chunk of comments in the record. Thanks for forwarding that email!
There’s Still More Comments to be Counted
The asterisk behind the number above mentions that bulk comment submission. According to a post on The Hill blog today, Planned Parenthood, for instance, had claimed to have generated 350,000 comments. I doubt it, in my own humble opinion. Actually, I just checked that blog post again, and it appears that they corrected the post — the HHS says it received 350,000 comments total.
Backwards Thinking Opponents to Opposition
I label he people highlighted in that Hill blog, such as the atheists and others who want contraception, abortion, and sterilization to be a mandated alternative to pregnancy and delivering a baby as “opponents to opposition” because they are thugs guilty of their own complaints. Atheists are always whining that the Church is forcing beliefs on them, but when the government does the same to others, they rally behind and thug and bully. It’s sad. Here’s a snippet from the Hill blog:
“Allowing employers to make a unilateral decision to be exempted sets a terrible precedent for religious interference in individual choice,” the organizations write in the letter.
“If adopted, this exemption gives employers the ability to impose their particular religious beliefs on employees, infringing on the religious freedom of potentially millions of Americans,” added Edwina Rogers, the executive director of the Secular Coalition for America, one of the signers, in a statement.
Other groups signing the eight-page letter include American Atheists, the American Humanist Association, the Secular Student Alliance, the Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers, the Council for Secular Humanism and the American Ethical Union.
So, the same people who complain about hormones in their chicken and pork want to be free to have a health insurance company force hormones straight into them? I just don’t understand how people cannot see that forcing people to legitimize abortion-causing drugs, hormonal contraceptives, and sterilization is religious, let alone something we want the government to empower insurance companies to force upon us. Even the atheists should be smarter than this. The HHS Mandate has nothing to do with “Pro Choice” and everything to do with bureaucrat force.
Yours Truly in the News
Your author had signed comments filed on behalf of his client, EWTN. In those comments, the chief issue at hand is that people can object to Contraceptive Mandate on non-religious grounds as well as religious grounds, yet the HHS Mandate herds the exemptions to be available only to churches! Something is wrong there! Even the atheists understand the individuals have First Amendment rights, not just churches! The atheists wouldn’t stand to be forced to declare themselves to be a church in order to get first amendment rights, so why are they saying it is a good idea for anyone else?
See the post at the National Catholic Register highlighting more quotes from the EWTN comments filed. Here’s my favorite part:
“The government is forcing EWTN, or anyone else with these beliefs, to agree with their error — an act that will cause a reasonable person to see that the government is forcing EWTN and others to call evil good and pay for it,” it said. “This use of government force is not theoretical or philosophically abstract. Rather, it is a real, concrete and earthly injury being performed with the disguise of health care.”
Contraception, EWTN noted, is not health care.
“Whatever else the so-called ‘preventive services’ purport to prevent, it is obvious that they don’t prevent or remediate injury or disease and are therefore not health care,” the network’s filing said. “Rather, they appear to prevent health and are contrary to health care. They may in this sense be called evil, yet the government is using its force to make persons who believe otherwise call it good.”
The proposed rule, EWTN’s filing added, does not respect individuals’ First Amendment rights of religious freedom.
“The American public is free to hold religious beliefs whether or not they declare themselves to be a church,” EWTN said. “Similarly, the public is protected from being forced to call evil good at the tip of the government’s whim and threat of force. This should seem apparent, regardless of whether the person is an individual, a church, a nonprofit, or anyone else. Yet this rule segregates religious beliefs from the public and herds them into churches and a few nonprofits.
“No one but a church is allowed to live by their religious beliefs under this rule — and given how contrary the government’s error is to these religious beliefs, it is absurd that such an elaborate scheme has been erected.”
The Bishops Thank you for the Support, too
One of the goals we set out to accomplish in setting up the Campaign for Humanae Vitae™ was to support our bishops. You’ve seen that tag line in fact, one our logos and ads and petition pages. I quoted Fr. John A. Hardon just the other day wherein he says that the faithful must assist the bishops to fight contraception. You helped, and we’re glad we were part of helping the help! On behalf of the USCCB, Bishop Lori thanked the people who supported the fight, reported the National Catholic Register today.
Prayer – to convert the contraceptive mentality
Fr. Hardon said it was one of our greatest moral responsibilities today: to convert the contraceptive mentality. The Real Presence maintains online audio archives of Fr. Hardon. Part 1 of a talk Fr. Hardon gave on contraceptives is here. and Part II is linked here. These appear on this page of their site. A transcript of Part I is here.
Fr. Hardon breaks the idea into two groups: “The contraceptive mentality is the philosophy which claims that contraception is not morally wrong. It can even be morally good, for the welfare of those who practice contraception and for the welfare of the human race. Immediately, we must distinguish between two classes of people who defend contraception
- the non-Christian world that has not been touched by the moral principles of historic Christianity; and,
- those who profess to be Christians yet find nothing objectively wrong in the practice of contraception.
God help us!
Contraception and Self-Deification go Hand-in-Hand
From the transcript above, this quote from Fr. Hardon is priceless:
Each one of these products of contraceptive ideology would be enough to explain what we see happening in the modern world. This ideology is a self-idolatry that should be called the New Paganism. The old paganism was polytheistic, a belief in many deities – gods and goddesses. The new paganism is monotheistic. There is faith in only one god but this god is the independent and autonomous Ego who is responsible to no one except “Himself”.
No wonder the so-called New Age movement is pervading countries like our own. At the core of the New Age is the Oriental non-Christian belief that there is only one deity, called Brahman. What we call the soul, these Orientals call Atman, the Self. Our destiny after many reincarnations is to discover that Atman is Brahman. This is Nirvana.
What did the serpent say to Eve? You will become like gods… No wonder the government wants to force it on everyone. It’s their religion, after all.
This article, People Showed up in Droves to Comment on the Record Against HHS Mandate! is a post from The Bellarmine Forum.
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