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97% of Public Comments Oppose HHS Mandate

The first round of public comments on the administration's proposed HHS mandate have been released by the federal website and show overwhelming opposition to the anti-conscience rule.

The Heritage Foundation is reporting that the results of the results of the first round of comments were released by Regulations.gov and show that our of 211 comments submitted thus far, only six support the mandate.

A review of the comments shows that the vast majority oppose the mandate because it violates the religious liberty of Americans and to the free exercise of their faith. Some oppose the mandate because of the health hazards of the medical procedures covered by the mandate. A few even called for a full repeal of ObamaCare.

For instance, one commenter, who identified herself as Arlene from Colorado, wrote: “As a Democrat, I will vote Republican if religious freedom is not protected and respected.”

An anonymous commenter from Missouri said the mandate constitutes “a religious freedoms issue, not a women’s issue.”

The results are hardly surprising. Polling data has consistently shown that Americans are strongly opposed to the mandate. In a survey conducted by Rasmussen Reports at the height of the controversy in February, 50 percent of Americans disagreed with the requirement that would force religious employers to provide insurance coverage for healthcare services that violate their consciences.

"Of course the fundamental problem with the anti-conscience mandate is not just that it’s unpopular, but that it violates the law," writes Lachlan Markay for the Heritage Foundation. "The First Amendment protects Americans’ religious and moral freedoms, a fact that the Department of Health and Human Services does not appear to have taken into account in formulating the rule."

In fact, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius shocked members of the House Education and Workforce Committee on April 26 when she admitted to putting the mandate together without seeking legal advice from the Department of Justice on the constitutionality of the new regulation.

"Ignorance may be bliss for Secretary Sebelius," writes Geoffrey Surtees for the American Center for Law and Justice, "but her ignorance comes at great cost to the constitutional rights of countless citizens."

The public comment period extends for 90 days and is intended to gather comments on how to implement the February 10 "accommodation" to the mandate that involved little more than accounting gimmicks meant to pacify religious employers but which left the original rule basically unchanged.

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