40 years of marching for life - And now religious liberty

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Sadly, this shift in public opinion has not been reflected in federal policies. Planned Parenthood received a record level of government support ($542 million) according to its own report for fiscal year 2011-2012. In 2011, they performed an all time high 333,964 abortions. In Congress, I will continue to support legislative efforts to defund Planned Parenthood. But abortion advocates have moved far beyond the debate over taxpayer support. Right now, our courts are deciding whether the government can force private organizations to provide coverage for abortions.
 
President Obama's Affordable Care Act, better known as ObamaCare, mandates that many religious leaders and business owners violate their consciences by covering abortion inducing drugs in their health policies. However, not everyone agrees that abortion is a "health" concern. Two Michigan companies have responded by bringing suits to federal court.
 
Autocam Corporation filed in Michigan's Western District Court. Headquartered in Kentwood, Autocam is an international automotive and medical manufacturing company. Crain's Detroit Business, in partnership with Priority Health and MiBiz, placed Autocam on its Honor Roll of 2012 Michigan's Healthiest Employers. But according to the Obama Administration, their health insurance is not up to snuff. And Autocam's request for an injunction was recently denied. This means the company's owners must violate their consciences or pay up to $100 in fines per day per employee. Fines will total $24 million a year according to Autocam.
 
A second case was filed by the outdoor equipment and parts sales company Weingartz Supply Company, which has a location in Cedar Springs. Michigan's Eastern District Court thankfully granted Weingartz temporary relief from fines. Weingartz and Autocam are plaintiffs in just two of 43 similar cases being decided throughout the country. The Supreme Court will likely have to decide whether the newfound right to abortion coverage trumps the right to freedom of religion.
 
The larger our government grows, the more often faithful Americans will have to choose between their conscience and their pocket book, their God and their government. No American should have to make such a terrible decision. The Father of the Constitution, James Madison, once wrote that "conscience is the most sacred of all property…for which the public faith is pledged." Along with Madison, I pledge to do everything I can to protect this sacred property. I hope all Americans, whether they call themselves pro-life or pro-choice, will as well.

Huizenga represents Michigan's Second Congressional District and is in his second term.