Trump supporters, both reluctant and proud, leave this week feeling exhausted and without hope. With the bungled response to Charlottesville and now breaking news of Steve Bannon's firing, is there any upward momentum? Possibly.
Religious conservatives hoping Trump would fulfill his promise on religious freedom, especially the rollback on Obamacare's HHS mandate that forced employers to pay for their workers' contraception in violation of their religious beliefs, may finally get their wish.
The Wall Street Journal reports that "Federal health officials are expected to finalize a regulation that would allow employers with religious or moral objections to birth control to omit coverage for contraception from their workers’ plans, according to two people familiar with its contents."
The regulation has similarities to an earlier, leaked draft, which allows for a wider pool of business, not just "closely held" private companies, to opt out of the Obamacare mandate.
The HHS mandate has always been about bashing religion in service of radical feminist issues, from the folks who worship at the altar of abortion and treat the contraceptive pill like a heavenly manna. It was put into place by radical abortion activist Kathleen Sebelius, then the department of Health and Human Services (HHS) secretary, and championed by Planned Parenthood.
Pro-Life groups welcome the news and hope Trump will carry out this promise swiftly.
“We applaud the Trump administration for rolling back the contraception mandate,” said Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America. “No person or group should be forced to pay for something that goes against their religious or moral beliefs by bureaucrats in Washington, especially drugs that have been proven to harm women and potentially end the life of an early human being.”
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops also applaud the news, saying it “would go a very long way to restoring religious freedom and conscience rights."
“We’ve been dealing with this mandate for over six years now,” said Hillary Byrnes, assistant general counsel. “A lot of people thought the administration would do something pretty quickly, yet here we are in August.”
Abortion activists have expressed less enthusiasm.
“We are preparing various different legal theories to fight the rule very quickly,” said Mara Gandal-Powers, senior counsel at the National Women’s Law Center. “We think we have a really strong claim.”
Father Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life, said, “For far too long, government has been trying to confine faith to the four walls of houses of worship. I’m confident that President Trump’s order will reinforce the Constitution’s guarantee that our religious beliefs are to be protected, not attacked.”
Trump has repeatedly promised to defend religious liberty, though he has not fully implemented his promise. Back in May, he told the Little Sisters of the Poor that his executive order on religious liberty would keep the government off their back, but that has not happened yet.