Anyone who doubts that the current administration is in the back pocket of Planned Parenthood need only consider the latest personnel shift at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”).
Effective last Friday, Tait Sye, once media director for Planned Parenthood, is now deputy assistant secretary for public affairs for HHS.
Normally, an appointment to a deputy assistant to anything in our federal bureaucracy is hardly worth a mention. But this personnel choice is yet another indication of the tight relationship between the president and Planned Parenthood. In fact, just last month, President Obama personally appeared in a video produced by and for the Planned Parenthood Action Fund.
When Tait Sye was spokesman at Planned Parenthood, he made it clear that religious employers should be forced by the federal government to include abortion and contraceptive services in their group health insurance plans, no matter the sincerely and long held religious beliefs at stake.
Talk about spin.
Religious charities and services that object to abortion, sterilization, or contraception do not object to these services based on whim or caprice. Catholics, for example, have opposed these practices for centuries.
Also, those who object to the HHS mandate do not do so because they want to keep birth control from their employees. They object to the government forcing them to either violate their religious and moral beliefs or pay significant penalties to the government for adhering to their beliefs.
For Tait Sye and Planned Parenthood, when it comes down to a choice between religious conscience rights and a government mandate to coerce conscience, the government wins. When it’s a choice between Planned Parenthood and the First Amendment, Planned Parenthood prevails.
Indeed, when the mandate was being cobbled together, HHS Secretary Sebelius chose not to consult with the Catholic Bishops, who faced the fullest brunt of the mandate. She didn’t even seek guidance from the Department of Justice regarding its legal implications or constitutionality.
Who played a critical role in aggressively pushing the mandate? CEO of Planned Parenthood, Cecile Richards.
Given the enormous influence that Planned Parenthood continues to wield with HHS, including this latest shift in personnel, HHS might as well rename itself, for it’s fast becoming: the U.S. Department of Planned Parenthood.
Geoffrey Surtees is an attorney with the ACLJ and specializes in religious civil liberties.
Used with the permission of the American Center for Law and Justice.