ADF, Louisiana College challenge Obama mandate

Federal lawsuit challenges Obama administration’s latest attack on religious freedom

2/20/2012

Attorney sound bites:  Kevin Theriot  |  Mike Johnson

ALEXANDRIA, La. — Alliance Defense Fund attorneys filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of Louisiana College Saturday against the Obama administration. The lawsuit challenges the administration’s unconstitutional mandate that religious employers provide abortifacients, sterilization, and contraception at no cost to employees regardless of religious or moral objections.

“People of faith shouldn’t be punished by the government for following their beliefs when making decisions for themselves or their organizations,” said ADF Senior Counsel Kevin Theriot. “The Obama administration invented a fake ‘right’ to get ‘free’ abortion pills and sterilization and elevated it above real freedoms protected by the First Amendment. This calculated and intentional attempt to eradicate constitutional protections should terrify every freedom-loving American.”

“The Obama administration has purposely transformed a non-existent problem--access to contraception--into a constitutional crisis,” said ADF-allied attorney and co-counsel Mike Johnson, dean of Louisiana College’s Pressler School of Law. “This mandate offers no choice; Americans either comply and abandon their convictions or resist and be punished.”

President Obama held a press conference on Feb. 10 to offer a “compromise” under which some religious non-profit organizations would not have to comply with the mandate. Instead, the employer’s insurer would be required to offer the employer’s employees the same coverage at no charge. The “compromise,” however, does not exist in the rules or guidance Obama issued on Feb. 10, and the administration is not required to formally propose it.

Theriot explained that even if the proposed change did exist and had coherent boundaries, it would still require the employer to facilitate coverage by providing and paying for an objectionable plan, the costs of which would be passed on to the employers and/or employees via premiums.

“The time for silence is over,” said Louisiana College President Dr. Joe W. Aguillard. “Louisiana College will not sit by and allow this or any government to usurp our God-given religious freedoms and our time-honored Baptist heritage.”

The new lawsuit filed with the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana, Louisiana College v. Sebelius, argues that the mandate violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act as well as the First and Fifth amendments to the U.S. Constitution.
  • Pronunciation guide: Theriot (TAIR'-ee-oh)
ADF is a legal alliance of Christian attorneys and like-minded organizations defending the right of people to freely live out their faith. Launched in 1994, ADF employs a unique combination of strategy, training, funding, and litigation to protect and preserve religious liberty, the sanctity of life, marriage, and the family.
 
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