Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Gun Organizations Urge ATF to Complete Review before Legislation is Considered

Source: National Shooting Sports Foundation

The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) and The Sporting Arms and Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers' Institute (SAAMI) today issued the following joint statement.

Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with the families and loved ones of all those killed and injured in the criminal attack in Las Vegas. The manufacture, distribution and sale of automatic firearms and their components has been stringently regulated by federal laws since 1934. We believe the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) should interpret and enforce existing laws and regulations. We call upon ATF to conduct a prompt review and evaluation of aftermarket trigger activation devices such as bump stocks to determine whether they are lawful to install and use on a firearm under the National Firearms Act of 1934 (NFA), or whether, if they have no function or purpose other than to convert a conventional firearm into an automatic firearm, they are regulated items under the NFA. We urge Congress to allow ATF to complete its review before considering any legislation so that any policy decisions can be informed by the facts and ATF's analysis.

Homes for Our Troops and Horizon Solar Power Present New Solar Powered Home to Wounded Veteran

Source: Horizon Solar Power

Temecula, CA - October 10, 2017 (The Ponder News) -- Horizon Solar Power (Horizon), a Sungevity company and premier designer and installer of residential and commercial solar systems, recently joined Homes For Our Troops to present a new solar-powered home to a local wounded Veteran. A privately funded 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, Homes For Our Troops builds and donates specially adapted custom homes nationwide for severely injured post-9/11 Veterans. The homes restore some of the freedom and independence our Veterans sacrificed while defending our country, and enable them to focus on their family, recovery and rebuilding their lives. The project was completed in support of Horizon's Acts of Sunshine initiative, a corporate social responsibility program singularly dedicated to giving back to our communities through strategic partnerships with local businesses and nonprofit organizations. As part of the homebuilding project, Horizon installed a free solar energy system, providing Marine Corporal Christopher Van Etten and his wife immediate and long-term savings on their electricity bills while increasing the value of their new home. The Temecula, California home was formally presented to Corporal Van Etten on Sept. 30 as part of a community Key Ceremony.

In 2012, Marine Corporal Christopher Van Etten was on his second deployment serving as an Infantryman with the 1st Battalion, 7th Marines in Sangin, Afghanistan. Near midnight on June 13, Corporal Van Etten and his unit were breaking down their observation post when a squad member was injured by an improvised explosive device (IED). While assisting with the evacuation and helping his comrade onto the helicopter, Corporal Van Etten stepped on another IED. The blast resulted in the loss of both of his legs. Christopher was able to make an impressive recovery and was released from the hospital just three weeks after his injury. Two months following his injury, he was walking on prosthetics.

"On behalf of everyone at Horizon Solar Power, it's an absolute honor to play a part in this incredible project. We're inspired by the tremendous sacrifices of our Veterans and grateful for the opportunity to make a difference in the life of Corporal Van Etten," stated Brian Hobbs, Horizon's Chief Financial Officer. Frank Kneller, Horizon's Chief Executive Officer added, "Veterans such as Corporal Van Etten have given the ultimate sacrifice. We hope the building of this home, and others like it, provide the necessary awareness in our communities to promote long-term support to all Veterans."

Homes For Our Troops President & CEO Tom Landwermeyer stated, "This home serves as a catalyst for Corporal Van Etten to begin rebuilding his life. Horizon Solar Power's generous donation will greatly decrease utility costs, reducing financial strain for Christopher and his wife, so they can save more for their future. Homes For Our Troops is grateful for their support." Acknowledging the donation, Corporal Van Etten stated, "Thank you Horizon Solar Power! Not only for donating, but for also giving us peace of mind."

Southwest Flight Attendant Files Lawsuit for Union Retaliation for Criticizing Union Boss Political Stances

Source: National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation

Dallas, TX - October 10, 2017 (The Ponder News) -- With free legal aid from National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation staff attorneys, a fired Southwest Airlines flight attendant sued her ex-employer and union officials on September 14, 2017, after voicing her views on abortion, supporting a National Right to Work law, and opposing union officials’ leadership. Charlene Carter has filed a court complaint against Transport Union Workers of America (TWUA) Local 556 and Southwest Airlines as well as Equal Opportunity Employment Commission employment discrimination charges against Southwest Airlines and Local 556.

Charlene Carter is a Christian who believes her faith requires that she spread her pro-life message. As a Southwest employee, Carter joined Local 556 in September 1996. She resigned her membership in September 2013 after learning that her union dues were going towards causes that violate her conscience.

As is her right, Carter dropped union membership but was still forced to pay fees to Local 556 as a condition of her employment. State Right to Work laws do not protect her from forced union fees because airline and railway employees are covered by the federal Railway Labor Act (RLA). The RLA allows union officials to have a worker fired for refusing to pay union dues or fees.

Carter often directly messaged the president of Local 556 with criticisms of the union’s leadership and political stances. Carter never had any communication from Southwest, from the union, or the union president that such speech was contrary to the terms of her employment. That changed in 2017, when after several years of dissatisfaction with union officials, Carter criticized the union for supporting abortion and voiced support for National Right to Work legislation that would end the requirement that she pay forced union fees to a union that advocates against positions about which she feels strongly.

A labor dispute amongst Local 556 members began in 2012 and lasted more than five years concerning the legitimacy of the Local 556 Executive board. Two members of the board were removed after their opponents filed misconduct claims against them. Under union bylaws, two candidates from the losing party were nominated to fill the vacant positions. Audrey Stone of the losing party was elected president by the newly installed executive board.

Over the next two years, more than 90 employees opted out of union membership in response to what they saw as an improper power grab. The election was again contested via a Department of Labor complaint, but that complaint was eventually dismissed by Labor Department officials. Through 2016, over 7,000 signatures were collected for a recall of Stone but the union executive board dismissed this petition as well.

In January 2017, Carter found out that Stone and other Local 556 officials probably used union dues to attend the “Women’s March on Washington DC” which showed support for several political positions she opposed, including abortion and funding for the abortion provider, Planned Parenthood.

Carter posted in various Facebook groups for Southwest flight attendants and sent a personal message to President Stone, explaining why she was upset her money was going towards causes she did not support. These complaints garnered no response from either the union or Southwest. But then, Carter sent Stone another e-mail exclaiming her support for a National Right to Work bill.
Only six days after sending Stone that e-mail, Carter received notification from Southwest managers that they needed to have a mandatory meeting as soon as possible in regards to “Facebook posts they had seen.” During this meeting, Southwest presented Carter screen shots of her pro-life postings. Southwest bosses questioned why she sent these messages, despite Carter explaining her beliefs. Southwest authorities said that Stone claimed to be harassed by these messages.

A week after this meeting, Carter was fired from her job. Southwest said she violated its “Workplace Bullying and Hazing Policy” and its “Social Media Policy” by sharing her pro-life beliefs because her message was “highly offensive in nature.” Carter had never previously received any discipline in her 20 year career with Southwest.

As Carter’s legal filings document, this explanation lacks any credulity. Throughout the five year labor dispute over the TWUA Local 556 executive board, supporters of Stone routinely encouraged violence, used vulgarities, and even sent death threats towards their fellow Southwest employees and union members who opposed Stone. Yet none of them have been fired for their offensive language, apparently because they had the right politics and supported the union brass.

“This case shows the extent to which union officials will wield their power over employers to violate the rights’ of the workers they claim to represent,” said Mark Mix president of the National Right to Work Foundation. “Charlene Carter did nothing wrong. She merely voiced her opinion and opposition to her money being used for causes she opposes, expressing her protected religious beliefs. Southwest and TWUA union officials need to be held accountable for violating Charlene’s rights and the National Right to Work Foundation is pleased to help her stand up to this campaign of harassment.”

Nurses in Puerto Rico Warn Dire Conditions, Slow Relief Effort Posing Urgent Health, Safety Crisis

Source: National Nurses United

Washington, D.C. - October 10, 2017 (The Ponder News) -- NNU’s Registered Nurse Relief Network (RNRN) sent 50 RNs as part of a 300-member deployment led by the AFL-CIO in conjunction with the Puerto Rican Federation of Labor and the San Juan Mayor’s office. They cite:

  • People who have yet to receive any food, water, and other supplies from FEMA or any other agency.
  • People standing in line for hours in blistering heat waiting for desperately needed water and food, only to finally see federal disaster officials bringing paperwork “to collect data” rather than critical supplies.
  • Multiple houses with roofs blown off and soaked interiors where there is dangerous black mold growing that creates respiratory distress and illness.
  • A breakout of leptospirosis, a dangerous bacterial disease that has already claimed lives.
  • Widespread devastation with families across the island who have seen no signs of FEMA or other federal relief officials.

    “While we hear boasts of a great response, the reality on the ground is far different,” said Bonnie Castillo, RN, director of NNU’s RNRN program. “What our nurses witness daily is the harsh reality of a woefully inadequate government response and the brutal, inhumane impact on the Puerto Rican people. People are still without food and drinking water. That poses an enormous humanitarian threat in terms of disease, life, and death and who succumbs first,” Castillo said.

    “There can be no more delays. There is an extreme threat to life. The Trump Administration, FEMA, and Congress must act immediately,” Castillo said.

    On the southern edge of San Juan municipality, where there has been no contact with FEMA, Red Cross or any official relief. This family has been sleeping in their roofless house on soaking wet furniture for weeks. The youngest child has (unsurprisingly) developed a rash. When RN Lucia Lopez gave the mother hydrocortisone cream, she burst into tears.

    Among first hand RN reports:

    “Spent the day in Rio Grande, a hard hit area outside of San Juan. No power or water here since Maria. We set up a clinic at a FEMA site (their first time here). People lined up for blocks since 10 pm last night. But FEMA was only handing out papers! Papers, which need to be filled out in order that they might receive some reimbursement eventually. Each person received a small bottle of water, a mini bag of Cheeze-Its and a little pack of vanilla cookies. Outrageous. Meanwhile grocery stores have limited supplies and lines for many blocks. What amazes me is how kind, calm and sharing the Puerto Ricans are, sharing with and helping their friends, family and neighbors. We were able to provide care to some, not nearly enough, but one small contribution to this tragedy today. – Erin Carrera, RN

    “Today we went to Corozal after meeting in the disaster command center this a.m. We set up a clinic at a school where families are living, and then the mayor drove us up a hill to do door-to-door assessments. Families were extremely relieved to see us. We are seeing a breakout of leptospirosis in the community here, at least three people have died and FEMA is not releasing water to the community. Yesterday, people stood in line since 10 p.m. the previous night in hopes FEMA would show up and give them food and water. To everyone's dismay FEMA showed up, but they were not there to get food or water, they were there to fill out paperwork. They handed one bottle of water and a snack pack of Cheez-It's. I saw many patients yesterday; there were so many I lost count. It was really sad, however it's always amazing to see the spirit of the community. Neighbors are banding together to care for each other offering their last food to us not knowing if there will be any more food delivered to them. -- Kent Savary, RN

    "It's hell here. I fear this island will never recover. The people have nothing, yet they are first to offer you the shirt off their back." -- Laura Maceri RN

    "We couldn't believe this is part of the United States. We did home visits in the low-income community today with the public health liaisons who identify those in need and help them do basic blood pressure checks, blood sugar checks, refill their meds, etc. They have already had chronic diseases going on and now their environment is full of hazardous materials and sanitation is so poor. They could not get a hold of their doctors due to closure of many clinics in the area. It's also hard to get prescriptions filled since they don't have money. We hope we can go further to the rural areas away from city where communications are cut off and people really can't get any help." -- Hau Cheng Yu, RN

    RNRN volunteer nurses have cared for thousands of patients during disaster relief and humanitarian assistance deployments since the 2004 South Asian tsunami and Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. RNRN is powered by NNU, the largest union and professional association of registered nurses in the U.S.
  • Seven-State Electric Vehicle Highway Unveiled at Energy Summit

    Source: National Governors Association

    Denver, CO - October 10, 2017 (The Ponder News) -- Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, plus representatives from more than 30 states, gathered for the first meeting of National Governors Association (NGA) Chair Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval’s initiative, Ahead of the Curve: Innovation Governors. The meeting specifically focused on energy innovation at the state level.

    At the meeting, Gov. Hickenlooper announced that seven states—Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming—will be working together to create the Regional Electric Vehicle (REV) Plan for the West, an electric vehicle corridor.

    “I am honored to host such a diverse group of state officials focused on energy innovation,” Gov. Hickenlooper said. “I look forward to working with my colleagues in the West to create world-class infrastructure for electric vehicles as we look to the future of transportation.”

    Gov. Sandoval, who was unable to attend the meeting due to the mass shooting in his state just days before, said, “As chair of the National Governors Association, I am pleased to announce the REV plan in the West with governors from both sides of the political spectrum. The plan shines a spotlight on how governors across the country are implementing innovative policies for the people of their states.”

    In January, Gov. Sandoval will host the next meeting related to his initiative focused on transportation innovation in Las Vegas.

    To learn more about the REV plan, click here.

    To learn more about Ahead of the Curve, click here.

    To learn more about the NGA Center for Best Practices Environment, Energy and Transportation Division, click here.


    Source: National Conference of State Legislature
    By Lisa Soronen

    South Dakota has filed a petition in South Dakota v. Wayfair asking the U.S. Supreme Court to hear a challenge to its law requiring out-of-state retailers to collect sales tax.

    Mouse in shopping cartIn Quill Corp. v. North Dakota (1992), the Supreme Court held that states cannot require retailers with no in-state physical presence to collect sales tax.

    In March 2015 Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote a concurring opinion stating that the “legal system should find an appropriate case for this court to re-examine Quill.” Kennedy criticized Quill in Direct Marketing Association v. Brohl for many of the same reasons the State and Local Legal Center stated in its amicus brief. Specifically, internet sales have risen astronomically since 1992 and states and local governments are unable to collect most taxes due on sales from out-of-state vendors.

    Following the Kennedy opinion, a number of state legislatures passed legislation requiring remote vendors to collect sales tax. South Dakota’s law is the first to be ready for review by the U.S. Supreme Court. In September the South Dakota Supreme Court ruled that the South Dakota law is unconstitutional because it clearly violates Quill and it is up to the U.S. Supreme Court to overrule it.
    Ruling in South Dakota’s favor will require the U.S. Supreme Court to take the unusual step of overruling precedent. In its petition South Dakota explains why the court should agree to hear this case and rule in its favor:

    "Quill clearly needs to go. When this court considers overruling its precedent, it looks to whether the existing rule:

    (1) is constitutional or statutory;
    (2) has engendered reliance interests;
    (3) has been undermined by changed circumstances;
    (4) has been consistently criticized as inconsistent with broader doctrine; and (5) has proven “unworkable” or “outdated” with experience.

    Quill fares poorly on every measure. It is a severely criticized, constitutional holding that itself warned when decided that it might later be reconsidered. It is also, in Justice Gorsuch’s words, a 'precedential island[] … surrounded by a sea of contrary law.' And after 25 years of technological progress and economic changes, it has proven entirely out of date."

    At this point all South Dakota is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to do is agree to hear its case. The Supreme Court review is discretionary. Four of the nine Supreme Court justices must agree to hear any case. If the court refuses to do so, the South Dakota Supreme Court ruling that South Dakota’s law is unconstitutional will stay in place.

    It is possible the court could hear this case this term meaning it would issue an opinion by the end of June 2018.

    Lisa Soronen is executive director of the State and Local Legal Center and a frequent contributor to the NCSL Blog on judicial issues.

    The National Association for Gun Rights opposes NRA-backed ban on firearm accessories

    Source: The National Association for Gun Rights

    Washington, D.C. - October 10, 2017 (The Ponder News) -- The National Association for Gun Rights is urging members of Congress to withhold their signatures from an anti-gun letter that is currently being circulated by Congressman Adam Kinzinger and Senator Dean Heller -- in concert with the NRA -- that calls for banning “bump stocks.”

    The proposal outlined in the letter will not prevent future crimes or mass shootings, and will only lead to more federal destruction of constitutional rights.

    If a gimmicky rifle stock can be banned, what’s next? Federal regulations on magazines, scopes, or bi-pods? A new round of restrictions on other features, like Senator Feinstein’s 1994 gun ban? A full resurrection of her so-called “Assault Weapons” Ban?

    Make no mistake -- this is a red-herring, playing right into the hands of those who seek an open door to more federal regulations on firearms and accessories.

    Despite the NRA’s endorsement of this ban, members of Congress are urged not to add fuel to this fire. The National Association for Gun Rights and its 4.5 million members and supporters will be carefully tracking and grading all support for the anti-gun Kinzinger letter, and all measures reflecting it in Congress.

    Unanimous Mississippi Supreme Court Decides Columbus Mayor And Council Violated Open Meetings Act

    Source: Mississippi Center for Public Policy

    Washington, D.C. - October 10, 2017 (The Ponder News) -- The Mississippi Supreme Court ruled that the Mayor and City Council of Columbus violated the Open Meetings Act when they previously met in prearranged, non-quorum size gatherings to discuss public business, intending to circumvent the Act. This is the first time the Supreme Court has ever addressed the issue of whether meetings of public officials in less than quorum numbers violate the Open Meetings Act. The Mississippi Justice Institute represented The Commercial Dispatch in the appeal.

    “This is a huge win for the citizens of Mississippi and for open and accountable government,” said Mike Hurst, Director of the Mississippi Justice Institute. “People are tired of backroom deals and secret agreements by government officials that affect their lives. The Supreme Court’s opinion puts public officials and bureaucrats on notice – you cannot circumvent the law and do the people’s business behind closed doors anymore. Today’s decision is a monumental victory for transparency in government.”

    In 2014, the Columbus mayor scheduled multiple meetings with council members to discuss policy issues and determine matters involving economic development projects and renovation of city property. The meetings were not announced or open to the public. At the time, the mayor excluded a Commercial Dispatch reporter from some of these meetings. In December 2014, the Mississippi Ethics Commission held that the mayor and council violated the Open Meetings Act. The mayor and city council appealed the decision to the Lowndes County Chancery Court, which upheld the Ethics Commission’s decision. The mayor and city council then appealed to the Mississippi Supreme Court.

    The original complaint against the Mayor and City Council was filed by Nathan Gregory, who at the time was a reporter for The Commercial Dispatch, a Columbus newspaper. The Commercial Dispatch eventually replaced Gregory as a party in the case. The Mississippi Justice Institute represented The Commercial Dispatch in the appeal.

    The Mississippi Supreme Court ruled, “The four pairs of subquorum gatherings, along with the fact that they were prearranged, nonsocial, and on the topic of public business, illustrated the City’s intent to circumvent or avoid the requirements of the Act. The philosophy and spirit of the Act prohibit the City from intending and attempting to circumvent or avoid the requirements of the Act. Additionally, the plain language of Section 25-41-1 requires the subject gatherings to be open to the public. Thus, the City’s failure to hold open gatherings violated the Act.”

    [The Ruling]

    In concluding, the Supreme Court noted that, “Prearranged, nonsocial gatherings on public business that are held in subquorum groups with the intent to circumvent the Act are required to be open to the public under Section 25-41-1 of the Open Meetings Act. Thus, the trial court correctly found that the City violated the Open Meetings Act.”

    Peter Imes, General Manager of The Commercial Dispatch said, “The public should have access to its government’s decision-making process, and this ruling upholds that idea. It’s a win for open government.”

    Hurst concluded, “Whether raising taxes, spending taxpayer money or issuing regulations that affect people’s lives and property, people want to know what their government is doing. This decision clearly tells government officials to follow the law and do public business in the open.”

    The Mississippi Justice Institute is also representing a local Meridian man against the Lauderdale County Board of Supervisors who have committed the same violations of the Open Meetings Act as found illegal in the present case by the Supreme Court. See http://www.msjustice.org/case/lauderdale-open-meetings-act/

    The Mississippi Justice Institute was assisted in this appeal by Clay B. Baldwin, Esq. of the Baldwin Law Firm PLLC in Madison, Miss.

    The Mississippi Justice Institute is the legal arm of the Mississippi Center for Public Policy. It represents Mississippians whose state or federal Constitutional rights have been threatened by government actions. Mississippi Justice Institute is supported by voluntary, tax-deductible contributions. It receives no funds from government agencies for its operations.

    Cancelled HHS Rule Receives Praise

    Below are statements from several organizations concerning the repealed HHS mandate by President Trump:

    March for Life and Alliance Defending Freedom:

    The following quotes may be attributed respectively to Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel Gregory S. Baylor and March for Life President Jeanne Mancini regarding a new rule that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services issued Friday that expands protections in the Obama-era abortion-pill mandate for organizations with pro-life religious or moral convictions. That mandate had forced many employers, regardless of those beliefs, to provide abortion-inducing drugs, sterilization, and contraception under threat of heavy penalties by the Internal Revenue Service and other federal agencies if the mandate’s requirements weren’t met:

    “The beliefs that inspire Christian colleges and universities and the Little Sisters of the Poor to serve their communities should be protected,” said Baylor. “During his campaign, President Trump promised that protecting religious liberty would be a top priority and people of faith would not be bullied on his watch. We are pleased that this rule is a major step forward in keeping that promise and restoring back to people of faith their constitutionally protected freedom. We are also pleased the rule protects the conscience convictions of organizations like March for Life, an organization that bases its pro-life beliefs on science and philosophy, and hosts the largest pro-life gathering in the world every year in Washington, D.C.

    “Although organizations that filed civil rights lawsuits will still need final relief from the courts, it is encouraging to see the Trump Administration affirm the principle that all Americans should be free to peacefully live and work according to their faith and conscience without threat of government punishment. Access to contraception and other drugs and devices will continue to be as widely and readily available as it always has been for those who want these items. We commend the president for his commitment to freedom and restoring the choice of religious and pro-life employers and their female employees to work at organizations consistent with their convictions. We expect that the Department of Justice will work with us to quickly resolve these cases in a manner that fully and permanently protects the freedom of conscience of our clients.

    “The March For Life Education and Defense Fund exists to protect and defend life from conception. When we were forced by the Obama administration to carry drugs and devices that destroy life in its early stages we were appalled and ultimately needed to seek legal protection. It is un-American to force non profit organizations to defy their very reason for being on something as important as life. We are grateful to the Trump Administration for this rule which will allow pro-life organizations to freely operate according to their beliefs on something as important as the protection of life and look forward to final resolution of our case in court that is consistent with this rule,” said Mancini, a litigant against the mandate. “Our nation has a rich history of protecting conscientious objectors and pro-life organizations must be free to operate according to their beliefs.”

    Alliance Defending Freedom is an alliance-building, non-profit legal organization that advocates for the right of people to freely live out their faith.

    National Religious Broadcasting

    Dr. Jerry A. Johnson, President & CEO of National Religious Broadcasters, issued the following statement today in response to new religious liberty protections issued by the Trump administration:

    "This a major victory for every American to exercise their freedom to believe, and to live, their faith. I look forward to looking at the details, but we are very thankful that the President and his team are moving in the right direction on religious liberty.

    The National Religious Broadcasters (NRB) is a nonpartisan, international association of Christian communicators whose member organizations represent millions of listeners, viewers, and readers. Our mission is to advance biblical truth, promote media excellence, and defend free speech. In addition to promoting standards of excellence, integrity, and accountability, NRB provides networking, educational, ministry, and fellowship opportunities for its members.

    National Right to Life

    The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) today released a bulletin through the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) reiterating that qualified health plan issuers must segregate collected premiums to pay for abortion coverage; that enrollees be informed if abortions are covered by a qualified health plan; and that HHS intends to fully enforce these requirements as a step toward ensuring that federal tax dollars are not used to subsidize coverage for elective abortion.

    A 2014 report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) provided dismaying confirmation of earlier predictions by National Right to Life that federally subsidized abortion coverage would become a widespread feature of Obamacare. The report found that more than one thousand federally subsidized exchange plans covered elective abortion. The GAO findings validated previous charges by National Right to Life that the federal taxpayer is subsidizing the purchase of abortion-covering plans on a massive scale.

    “While only comprehensive legislative reform can cure the multiple abortion-expanding components of Obamacare, today’s guidance from the Trump Administration takes a good first step to keep the federal government out of the business of paying for abortion until Obamacare can be replaced,” said Jennifer Popik, J.D., National Right to Life legislative director.

    National Right to Life President Carol Tobias added, “We applaud President Trump and his administration for enforcing the law and seeking to uphold the principles of the Hyde Amendment to prevent the use of tax dollars to pay for abortion coverage.”

    Additionally, HHS announced interim final rule changes to the Affordable Care Act and HHS coverage mandate that would protect moral and religious rights of conscience.

    “Rights of conscience are extremely important to the right-to-life movement to protect medical professionals, religious institutions and employers from being forced to participate in abortion,” said Tobias. “We commend President Trump for keeping his campaign promises by supporting these rights of conscience. These rule changes will help promote a policy that protects pro-life rights of conscience with regard to abortion.”

    Under President Obama’s administration, pro-abortion forces not only put increasing pressure on health care providers to violate their moral convictions with regard to abortion, but also backed efforts to force employers, including religious institutions and organizations that object to abortion, to cover abortion in their insurance plans.

    “No one should be forced to participate in abortion against their religious or moral convictions,” Tobias said.

    Founded in 1968, the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC), the federation of 50 state right-to-life affiliates and more than 3,000 local chapters, is the nation’s oldest and largest grassroots pro-life organization. Recognized as the flagship of the pro-life movement, NRLC works through legislation and education to protect innocent human life from abortion, infanticide, assisted suicide and euthanasia.

    Operation Rescue

    Today, the Trump Administration announced new rules that will provide new conscience protections for Americans.

    As a result of the rules, those who have moral or religious objections to contraceptive and abortifacient services will now be exempt from paying for them in Obamacare insurance policies. The exemptions will apply to individuals as well as organizations and small businesses.

    In May, President Donald Trump signed the “Executive Order Promoting Free Speech and Religious Liberty” in which he advised the Departments of Health and Human Services, Treasury, and Labor, to consider amending rules under the Obama Administration that essentially forced Americans to violate their consciences with mandated payments in their Obamacare health insurance policies for contraceptive and abortifacients that they found morally objectionable. Today’s action is in response to that directive.

    “Thank you, Mr. President, for your leadership in protecting the religious liberties we hold dear,” said Troy Newman, President of Operation Rescue. “We are sincerely grateful for this action that will now restore governmental respect for the deeply held beliefs of Americans who oppose abortion, abortifacient drugs, and certain life-destructive contraceptives.”
    The unjust “Obamacare Mandate” had suffered repeated losses in the US. Supreme Court, which ruled the government is not allowed to punish organizations or businesses for their beliefs.