Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee Calls Women’s Health a ‘ Priority’ – ‘People Will Die if They Do Not Have the Proper Health’

February 17, 2012 - 5:35 PM

Sheila Jackson-Lee

Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-Texas)

(CNSNews.com) – Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas), when asked if the U.S. Constitution gives the federal government authority to force private companies to give away goods free of charge, did not answer the question directly, but instead said that contraceptives constitute preventive health care and that “people will die if they do not have the proper health.”

At the U.S. Capitol, Wednesday, CNSNews.com asked Jackson-Lee: “Does the Constitution authorize the Federal Government to Force Private Companies to give away those products for free?”

This question arose because of an Obamacare regulation that requires all health insurance companies to offer sterilization and contraceptives -- including those that induce abortion -- “free of charge.”

The Texas Democratic congresswoman responded: “Let me just say that the First Amendment protects religious freedom. The president’s compromise was accepted by Catholic Charities.”

She continued: “Women’s health is a priority -- people will die if they do not have the proper health. My belief is that in a cooperative compromising effort to ensure that no one’s religious rights are violated, this is the right approach.

“And, yes, private companies have been engaged in the distribution of prescription drugs on the basis of saving lives, charity, good public citizen, private citizen and I frankly believe that this is a very appropriate approach,” Jackson-Lee said.

On Jan. 20, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) finalized an Obamacare regulation that would require all health insurance policies – except those for a church – to cover sterilizations and FDA-approved contraceptives, including those that induce abortion, free-of-charge.

The regulation sparked opposition nationwide from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, Evangelical leaders and at least 158 members of Congress.

To try to quell the controversy, President Obama “clarified” the regulation on Feb. 10,

and announced that all health insurers would have to provide contraceptives and abortion drugs free of charge, and that people who objected for religious reasons would not be paying for those services directly, but the burden would be on the insurance company.

In his remarks on Feb. 10, Obama explained: “Under the rule, women will still have access to free preventive care that includes contraceptive services -- no matter where they work.  So that core principle remains.  But if a woman’s employer is a charity or a hospital that has a religious objection to providing contraceptive services as part of their health plan, the insurance company -- not the hospital, not the charity -- will be required to reach out and offer the woman contraceptive care free of charge, without co-pays and without hassles.”

In other words, all health insurance companies, under the Obamacare regulation, will have to provide those services and cover their costs starting on Aug. 1.

Everyone who buys health insurance – whether alone, through an employer, or by third party – will be financing contraception and abortion drugs, such as ella, even if those products and services violate their religious faith.

President Obama described the regualtion as a “a solution that works for everyone.”

However, the use of artificial contraception and abortion-inducing drugs is contrary to the teachings of the Catholic Church, and is also opposed by many Protestants, Jews and Muslims.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops called Obama’s solution “unacceptable,” saying, “The only complete solution to this religious liberty problem is for HHS to rescind the mandate of these objectionable services.”

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Transcript of exchange between CNSNews.com and Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee

CNSNews.com: “Does the Constitution authorize the Federal Government to Force Private Companies to give away those products for free?”

Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee: “Let me just say that the First Amendment protects religious freedom. The President’s compromise was accepted by catholic charities. Women’s health is a priority. People will die if they do not have the proper health. My belief is that in a cooperative compromising effort to ensure that no one’s religious rights are violated. This is the right approach and yes a private companies have been engaged in the distribution of prescription drugs on the basis of saving lives, charity, good public citizen, private citizen and I frankly believe that this is a very appropriate approach.