This is an open letter to Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, from Christopher Shays, Republican candidate for United States Senate, regarding the department’s recent mandate that religious-affiliated institutions offer their employees contraceptive products.
Dear Secretary Sebelius:
I write to you as a former member of Congress and candidate for the United States Senate from Connecticut to ask that you reverse your decision mandating that religious-affiliated institutions offer their employees contraceptive products.
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has overreached its authority and infringed on the constitutional rights guaranteed by the First Amendment. The implications are alarming.
I support reproductive freedom for women, but I do not support this new requirement. Employees have constitutional rights — and so do employers.
I urge you to abandon your ruling and implement adequate religious exemption criteria that take into consideration the religious freedom of employers. Religious institutions have constitutional protections, and employees recognize this reality when working for these institutions.
HHS needs to expand its religious exemption criteria — similar to language used in states across America — to cover all religious-affiliated establishments.