Below is a link to my recent interview on LXBN TV with host Colin O’Keefe of LXBN where I discuss the legal challenges to the so-called abortion and contraception mandate under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Public Law 111-148. As I highlight during the interview, there currently are over 40 lawsuits making their way through the federal courts challenging the new contraception and abortion mandate by the Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) requiring employers to cover contraceptives and abortion-causing drugs in their employee health care plans. The legal challengers, who include various religious groups as well as national businesses such as Hobby Lobby, are arguing that the HHS mandate is a direct attack on their religious freedoms because it requires their employee health care plans to serve as a vehicle for both birth control and abortion.
As we reported on our blog a few weeks ago, the U.S. Supreme Court recently ordered the Fourth Circuit to reconsider a constitutional challenge to the abortion mandate brought by Liberty University, the private Christian college based in Virginia founded by the late Reverend Jerry Falwell. Liberty University argues the abortion mandate is unconstitutional on the ground that it involves the “forced funding of abortions” in violation of the school’s right to religious liberty.
It is only a matter of time before the Sixth Circuit addresses the constitutionality of the abortion and contraception mandate. Just a few weeks ago, District Court Judge Robert H. Cleland of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan became the second judge in the country to grant a motion for preliminary injunction that halts enforcement of the HHS mandate. See Opinion, Legatus, et al. v. Sebelius, Case No. 12-12061 (E.D. Mich.). The plaintiffs are being represented by The Thomas More Law Center (“TMLC”), which, as you’ll recall from our prior coverage, is the same pro-life legal group that was unsuccessful in the Sixth Circuit last year in challenging the individual mandate under the Affordable Care Act. See Opinion, Thomas More Law Center, et al. v. Obama, et al. (Sixth Circuit, Case No. 10-2388). TMLC’s lawsuit challenges the constitutionality of the HHS Mandate under the First Amendment as a violation of the free exercise of religion and of free speech. It also claims that the abortion and contraception mandate violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 and the Administrative Procedure Act.
Click here to watch video.