Christian Organization Seeks to Avoid Federal Mandate Compelling Facilitation of Insurance Coverage for Abortion-Inducing Drugs
TUPELO, MISSISSIPPI — February 20, 2013. The Center for Religious Expression, along with co-counsel Liberty Institute, filed suit today against the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and other federal agencies on behalf of American Family Association (AFA) in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Mississippi, Aberdeen Division. AFA challenges the federal mandate requiring employers to supply insurance coverage to their employees for drugs that cause abortions, like Plan B and Ella.
AFA is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization with over 150 employees and headquartered in Tupelo, Mississippi. The mission of the AFA is to inform, equip, and activate individuals to strengthen the moral foundations of American culture, and give aid to the church here and abroad in its task of fulfilling the Great Commission. In the lawsuit, American Family Association v. Kathleen Sebelius, et. al., AFA contends that the federal requirements mandating insurance coverage for employees, which include the provision of abortion-inducing drugs and related educational counseling, unconstitutionally coerces AFA to violate its religious convictions and mission under threat of heavy fines and penalties. Specifically, the suit claims that the HHS Mandate violates the U.S. Constitution, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, and the Administrative Procedure Act. “The mandate is an amoral affront to the very conscience and biblical principles on which the American Family Association was founded,” said Tim Wildmon, President of the American Family Association. “We feel betrayed by the abuse of government power that forces us to violate our deeply held religious beliefs and practices by funding the taking of innocent life.” AFA brings this suit on the heels of the White House proclaiming an “accommodation” for religious organizations. AFA does not view the “accommodation” to be very accommodating. “The White House could have easily provided religious organizations like the American Family Association with an exemption, like they do with churches, but decided instead to compel these organizations to facilitate a practice they find repugnant and contrary to their missions,” said CRE Chief Counsel Nate Kellum. “We cannot accept empty gestures like this.”