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TimesOnline: According to the documents submitted Tuesday by the Alliance Defending Freedom, a coalition of Christian attorneys that filed the lawsuit last year on behalf of the college, forcing Geneva to provide employees access to the “morally objective abortion-inducing drugs and devices” violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. “Requiring the College’s employee plan to facilitate access to abortifacients substantially burdens its ability to exercise its religious beliefs in the sanctity of life,” Geneva’s motion said.
CatholicPhilly.com: Matt Bowman, senior legal counsel of Alliance Defending Freedom, has helped represent the Grote family in their suit. “We’re very glad that the court recognized that all Americans have religious freedom, including when they try to earn a living in business,” Bowman said. Alliance Defending Freedom, until recently known as the Alliance Defense Fund, is a Christian legal organization founded in 1994 that advocates for the religious liberty of Americans and people around the world.
Townhall: Now, however, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops is letting their grievances known (once again), informing Team Obama they can never, in good faith, support such a liberty-crushing law. They’ll pay the fine instead. LifeNews has the details . . .
Ed Whalen at National Review: Let’s start with the questions whether each plaintiff corporation (1) is a person under RFRA, and (2) is engaged in an exercise of religion when it refuses to provide health insurance that covers contraceptives.
One News Now: “The decision rightly foresees the dangers of allowing government to have this kind of power,” says Bowman. “If the government can force family business owners to act contrary to their deepest convictions under the threat of fining them out of business, it is a danger to everybody.” . . . ADF is handling14 other lawsuits against the mandate. A total of 77 are currently in the federal court system.
A couple of observations about the Seventh Circuit’s discussion of RFRA’s reach in the contraceptives mandate challenges | Kevin Walsh at Mirror of Justice
Kevin Walsh at Mirror of Justice: I have finally finished reading through the 154 pages of the Seventh Circuit opinions in Korte v. Sebelius (mentioned by Rick a bit earlier today). To Rick’s assessment of Judge Sykes’s “excellent opinion” as “one of the most detailed and deep” analyses of the interaction between RFRA and the contraceptives mandate, I would add that Judge Rovner’s dissent is one of the most thorough expositions of the government’s side of the case (although Judge Rovner’s mode of analysis does not map directly onto the government’s). Reading the majority and dissenting opinions together provides a good overview of the state of the arguments on both sides.
Denver Post: A new round of advertisements unveiled by supporters of Colorado’s health insurance exchange has ignited controversy that rippled through social media Tuesday and launched debate over their portrayal of women.
Catholic Register: att Bowman, senior legal counsel of Alliance Defending Freedom, has helped represent the Grote family in their suit. “We’re very glad that the court recognized that all Americans have religious freedom, including when they try to earn a living in business,” Bowman said.
Appeals Court Blasts Obamacare As ‘unsound’: Rules that abortion-pill mandate violates religious liberty | WND
WorldNetDaily: According to ADF, the mandate “forces employers, regardless of their religious or moral convictions, to provide insurance coverage for abortion-inducing drugs and devices, sterilization, and contraception under threat of heavy penalties” in violation of owners’ faith. “All Americans, including job creators, should be free to honor God and live according to their faith,” said Senior Legal Counsel Matt Bowman, who argued before the 7th Circuit in May. “The court’s decision joins the majority of other rulings on the mandate, which have found it to excessively conflict with our nation’s guarantee of religious freedom to all Americans. The decision rightly foresees the dangers of allowing government to have this kind of power. If the government can force family business owners to act contrary to their deepest convictions under the threat of fining them out of business, it is a danger to everybody.”
7th Circuit: Obama’s defense of abortion pill mandate ‘unsound and extraordinary’ | Alliance Defending Freedom
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit issued a strongly worded decision Friday that found the Obama administration’s abortion pill mandate to be in violation of federal religious liberty protections.
LifeNews: In a 2-1 decision issued Friday by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, the court reversed the federal district court’s denial of a motion for a preliminary injunction and remanded the case for the district court to enter the preliminary injunction. The appeals court upheld the rights of both individuals and companies to challenge the ObamaCare HHS Mandate – the first decision of its kind in the ongoing HHS Mandate litigation.
Lyle Denniston at SCOTUS Blog: In the broadest ruling so far by a federal appeals court barring enforcement of the birth-control mandate in the new federal health care law, a divided Seventh Circuit Court panel decided on Friday that two profit-making companies and their Roman Catholic owners are likely to win their constitutional challenges.
View the post here.
National Catholic Register: Concerned about a number of Catholic hospitals merging with secular ones in Washington State, the state’s ACLU has put together a petition to be sent to the Governor to “ensure that religious ideology does not dictate the health care services a patient may choose.”
USCCB: Cardinal Seán O’Malley of Boston, chairman of the Committee on Pro-Life Activities of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, urged members of Congress to support the Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act, a bill sponsored by Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ).
Religion Clause Blog: In M&N Plastics, Inc. v. Sebelius, (D DC, Nov. 5, 2013), the federal district court for the District of Columbia granted the government’s motion to transfer a suit by a Michigan small business and its owners challenging the contraceptive coverage mandate to federal court in the plaintiff’s home district– the Eastern District of Michigan.
Kevin C. Walsh at Mirror of Justice Blog: A split panel of the D.C. Circuit held last week in Gilardi v. HHS that the HHS contraceptives mandate violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. This post is not about the merits of that holding (with which I agree), but about the court’s determination that “secular corporations” may not assert a RFRA claim. I think that the court’s analysis was flawed and that it reached a wrong decision on this issue.
Mennonite Cabinet Makers Tell Supreme Court: Don’t Let Obama Force Us to Obey HHS Mandate | LifeNews
LifeNews: “All Americans, including family business owners, should be free to live and do business according to their faith,” said Senior Counsel David Cortman. “As our brief argues, this case provides the cleanest opportunity for the Supreme Court to uphold that long-held American principle.”
MLive.com: Right to Life of Michigan has filed a federal lawsuit over provisions of “Obamacare” that require insurance companies to provide sterilization, contraceptives and “morning-after” pills.
Lyle Denniston at SCOTUS Blog: With lawyers in different cases arguing that theirs is the best one for the Supreme Court to use in deciding the legality of the birth-control mandate in the new federal health care law, the Court on Monday indicated that it will examine all four pending cases together later this month. The Court’s electronic docket said the four will be considered on November 26. If any are granted then or soon afterward, the Court probably would hear and decide them in the current Term.
ACLU sides with government on abortion pill mandate, says religions have attempted to justify discrimination
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: “We of course have a longstanding commitment to religious liberty and free speech under the First Amendment, but we also defend women’s rights and reproductive freedom,” the ACLU’s state legal director, Witold Walczak, said. “Historically, religions have attempted to justify discrimination in ways that have been rejected by the courts.”
Pa. Mennonite cabinetmakers answer Obama admin. in brief at Supreme Court | Alliance Defending Freedom
Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys filed a brief with the U.S. Supreme Court Monday to answer federal government arguments that downplayed the need for the court to fully hear a Pa. family business’s lawsuit against the Obamacare abortion pill mandate.
KPLU 88.5 (NPR): “The Obama administration and a Christian legal group called the Alliance Defending Freedom already have Supreme Court petitions pending in two different cases concerning the same issue,” Reuters reports.
Jenna Greene at National Law Journal: Christian public interest law groups the Thomas More Law Center and the Alliance Defending Freedom have brought about two dozen suits, arguing that the law violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and the First Amendment. In addition, the American Center for Law and Justice, led by Supreme Court advocate Jay Sekulow, has filed least seven suits.
Ed Whalen at National Review: A divided panel of the D.C. Circuit ruled this morning, in Gilardi v. U.S. Dep’t of Health and Human Services, that two brothers, Francis and Philip Gilardi, who own and operate a food-supply company are entitled under the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act to a preliminary injunction against imposition of the HHS mandate on contraception and abortifacients. Based only on a very quick skim, I provide this high-level summary:
Kathryn Jean Lopez at National Review: A divided D.C. circuit court panel found: “We must determine whether the contraceptive mandate imposed by the Act trammels the right of free exercise—a right that lies at the core of our constitutional liberties—as protected by the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.” The case was brought byFrank and Phil Gilardi, two Catholic brothers who own Freshway Foods in Ohio. Ed Whelan’s instant legal analysis is here.
Liberty Counsel: Today, Liberty Counsel filed a Reply Petition at the United States Supreme Court to consider Liberty v. Lew, because it is the only case before the Court which presents the full array of constitutional issues left unanswered. After Liberty Counsel filed the Petition, the Department of Justice filed its Response, and today Liberty Counsel filed its Reply.
Alan Sears at Alliance Defending Freedom: The opening of another session of the U.S. Supreme Court brings to the forefront several key cases being litigated or funded by Alliance Defending Freedom – cases with profound implications for the future of your life and your religious freedom. I want to give you a glimpse of what’s coming . . .
Chicago Tribune: The latest ruling brings to four the number of appeals courts to rule for employers, including preliminary decisions, while two others have ruled that the regulation must be complied with, according to the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty. The Obama administration and a Christian legal group called the Alliance Defending Freedom already have Supreme Court petitions pending in two different cases concerning the same issue.
Transparency: Sebelius ‘Doesn’t’ Know’ if Obamacare Will Force us to Fund Abortions | Cortney O’Brien at Townhall
Cortney O’Brien at Townhall: In reality, the abortion fee is a dollar or more a month. Doesn’t seem like much, right? Well, those pennies add up. Alliance Defending Freedom does the math. “Say just half of American workers are forced to pay only a dollar each month. That’s $924,000,000 – all funneled into an abortion-on-demand fund each year. That translates to more than 2,000,000 elective abortions that you have been forced to help fund.”
LifeSiteNews: The Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) is representing the Hahn family, which faces $35 million in annual fines if it does not acquiesce to the mandate’s contraception coverage requirement. The case has been petitioned to the Supreme Court, but has not yet been accepted in the Court’s new term.
Telegraph: Some 6,600 girls under-15, or 39 per cent of those who attended NHS contraceptive clinics in 2012/13, listed the pill as their primary method of contraception compared with 6,900 (40 per cent) who used condoms.
he last straw, he says, was Georgetown’s invitation of Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, to be a commencement speaker in May of last year. Sebelius has a record of supporting abortion rights, and abortion is the issue that really sets Blatty’s nerves on fire. He describes, his voice trembling, a particular abortion procedure in graphic detail. He pauses. His voice is nearly a whisper. “That’s demonic.”
LifeNews: As a pro-life American and resident of Washington, D.C., I wanted to make sure that there was a plan available under the exchange that did not cover elective abortion. After making quite a few calls to insurance companies and D.C. health exchange representatives, it appears that there is no way to avoid buying a plan that covers elective abortion in D.C. This, despite the fact that the ACA stipulates at least one Multi-State Plan (MSP) offered in each state must not cover elective abortion (PPACA §1334(a)(6)).
“Access to EC in Latin America Takes Center Stage at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights” | Center for Reproductive Rights
Center for Reproductive Rights: Healthcare professionals, lawyers, policymakers, and reproductive health advocates are gathering today in Washington, D.C. to testify on emergency contraception restrictions in Latin America, specifically in Chile, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Peru and Honduras. The Center for Reproductive Rights is a lead presenter at the hearing hosted at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights—the main human rights monitoring body for the Americas.
SCOTUS Blog has listed Conestoga as the Petition of the Day. Issue: Whether the religious owners of a family business, or their closely-held, for-profit corporation, have free exercise rights that are violated by the application of the contraceptive-coverage mandate of the Affordable Care Act.
Baptist Press: The Southern Baptist Convention’s religious freedom entity has urged the U.S. Supreme Court to review lower rulings on the Obama administration’s abortion/contraception mandate for the purpose of striking down the controversial rule.
“Planned Parenthood: AAP Announcement Supporting Increased Teen Access to Sex Education, Condoms Is an Important Breakthrough”
Planned Parenthood: The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) today released a policy statement supporting increased access to sex education and condoms in schools and health care settings. The policy statement, based on a careful review of the facts, strongly embraces sex education and family communication. It is available here.
NC Register: Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange announced that the state would join EWTN as a co-plaintiff in the lawsuit, which asks the court both to halt the government from imposing the HHS mandate and to find that the law is unconstitutional. | Becket Fund press release
Targeted News Service: The Alliance Defending Freedom (formerly the Alliance Defense Fund) issued the following news release . . .
Corporate Free Exercise: A Survey of Supreme Court Cases Applied to a Novel Question | Regent J. L. & Pub. Pol’y
Kartchner, Andrew B., Corporate Free Exercise: A Survey of Supreme Court Cases Applied to a Novel Question (May 1, 2013). Regent J. L. & Pub. Pol’y, Volume 6, Issue 2 (2014), Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2338538
Still in the wake of the Citizens United decision, the next question of corporate rights is heading to the Supreme Court soon: corporate free exercise of religion. A survey of Supreme Court cases reveals that affording constitutional rights to corporations is actually remarkably common. The rationale in such cases can illuminate the discussion brewing in the lower courts — and sure to find its way to the Supreme Court soon — as to whether corporations have First Amendment religious rights.
Religion Clause: In Weiland v. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, (ED MO, Oct. 16, 2013), a Missouri federal district court denied a temporary restraining order to a Missouri state employee and his wife who claim that the Affordable Care Act contraceptive coverage mandate forces them to violate their religious opposition to contraception, sterilization, and abortifacients by mandating that their group health insurance policy make these services available to their daughters who are covered by the policy.
WXYZ.com: Thousands of women are sharing devastating stories about how they say they’re suffering side effects from a permanent birth control called Essure. Now there’s a new warning about Essure: a report of a death has been filed with the U. S. Food and Drug Administration
CadillacNews (AP)http://www.cadillacnews.com/ap_story/?story_id=167840&issue=20131024&in_paper=1: The lawsuit names Health and Human Services Director Kathleen Sebelius as one of the defendants. Both schools are represented at no cost by Alliance Defending Freedom, a conservative Christian law group. Dordt has more than 1,400 students. The 3,000-student Cornerstone calls itself a “religious higher education institution” and believes it should be exempt from the law.
LifeNews (includes video): “All Americans, including family business owners, should be free to live and do business according to their faith,” said Senior Counsel David Cortman. “The 18 states and other groups that filed briefs in support of this case all understand that a major aspect of freedom is at stake: if the government can force the Hahns to violate their faith just to engage in their livelihood, then the government can do the same or worse to others.” “The question is whether the government can pick and choose what faith is, who the faithful are, and when and where they can exercise that faith,” added Senior Legal Counsel Matt Bowman. “The cost of religious freedom for the Hahn family and many other job creators across the country who face this mandate is severe. The potential for massive fines and lawsuits would cripple their businesses and threaten jobs.”
Both schools are represented at no cost by Alliance Defending Freedom.
WoodTV.com: “This filing is first and foremost an effort to preserve and protect our religious freedom as guaranteed by the First Amendment. Given our conviction that life begins at conception and our commitment to the sanctity of life, we find the mandate to provide our faculty, staff, and students with insurance that provides access to abortion-inducing pills unacceptable. The government should not be able to force us to buy or provide insurance that gives access to morally objectionable drugs, devices, and services that violate our biblical convictions.” “If the government can force Christian colleges like these to act contrary to their own deeply-held religious convictions, then the government can do just about anything,” says Alliance Defending Freedom senior counsel Gregory S. Baylor. “The government should not coerce any American in this manner.”
LifeNews: According to Alliance Defending Freedom, the Obama HHS mandate is currently losing 32-5 in federal courts from all of the lawsuits ADF and other pro-life legal groups have brought. . . . . Below is a rundown of some of the victories, click the links for more details about the particular case. [more]
Religion Clause Blog: In Eden Foods, Inc. v. Sebelius, (6th Cir., Oct. 24, 2013), the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals denied a preliminary injunction to a for-profit natural foods corporation and its Catholic owners who claim that the contraceptive coverage mandate under the Affordable Care Act violates their free exercise rights as protected by the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
Watchlist News: Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys filed a federal lawsuit against the Obama administration Wednesday on behalf of two Christian colleges: Dordt College in Iowa and Cornerstone University in Michigan. The case was filed in the Northern District of Iowa Western Division.
Rep. Andrea LaFontaine at Detroit News: In preparation for the Affordable Care Act invading our personal lives and our wallets, last year the state Legislature approved a bill that would disallow health insurance companies that participate in the taxpayer funded exchange from offering elective abortion coverage as part of their subsidized plans. Unfortunately, Gov. Rick Snyder vetoed the bill that contained this language. To remedy this, a citizen-led initiative began and more than 315,000 Michiganians from all 83 of our counties signed a petition in support of the abortion insurance opt-out, giving the Legislature another opportunity to ensure taxpayers are not on the hook for elective abortions.
18 states encourage Supreme Court to hear Pa. abortion pill mandate case | Alliance Defending Freedom
Eighteen states are among the parties that filed briefs with the U.S. Supreme Court this week that encourage the high court to accept a Pa. family business’s lawsuit and declare the Obama administration’s abortion pill mandate unconstitutional.
Cornerstone University suing federal government over birth control mandate in Affordable Care Act | Michigan Live
MLive.com: Cornerstone is represented in the lawsuit by Alliance Defending Freedom, an Arizona-based Christian legal-advocacy group. The university says Alliance “will bear all of the legal costs related to this litigation.” “If the government can force Christian colleges like these to act contrary to their own deeply-held religious convictions, then the government can do just about anything,” Gregory Baylor, senior counsel at Alliance, said in Cornerstone’s letter announcing the lawsuit. “The government should not coerce any American in this manner.”
Washington Post: More than half the nation’s attorneys general want the Supreme Court to revisit the Affordable Care Act in the coming months. Attorneys general in 29 states urged the court in filings this week to review lower-court decisions on the landmark health care law’s contraception mandate, but they were split over which of two cases the court should focus on.
Matt Bowman at Bell Towers: The most common retort to these cases by Obamacare supporters is to allege that they represent corporate personhood on steroids. They fling non-sequitors like “corporations don’t go to heaven, so they can’t practice religion.” Mr. Schvey suggested that corporations can’t exercise religion because they can’t do things like ingest sacramental wine. Opponents of religious freedom are missing the simple fact that the First Amendment and RFRA don’t speak of “heaven,” but protect the “exercise” of religion. Exercise is an activity, not a theology. Corporations, and the families and religious that run them, engage all kinds of activities—that’s what corporations do.
Penn. Mennonite family’s challenge to the abortion pill mandate | Matt Bowman on Koinonia with Tom Brown
Research on Religion, Baylor Institute for Studies on Religion: Can a public high school choir group choose to sing Christmas songs at a concert? Is it legal to pray to Jesus before a city council meeting? And does the federal government have the ability to mandate certain actions from businesses that might go against the owner’s rights of conscience? We explore these, and a few other, cases with David Cortman, senior counsel and vice president of litigation with the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF). | MP3 audio 55:26 mins
Volokh Conspiracy: This morning, U.S. District Court Judge Paul Friedman denied the federal government’s motion to dismiss inHalbig v. Sebelius, a suit challenging the legality of an IRS rule authorizing tax credits for the purchase of health insurance on federally run exchanges.
Lyle Denniston at SCOTUS Blog reports: The Obama administration on Monday evening filed three documents in the Supreme Court responding to Affordable Care Act petitions.
SCOTUS Blog: The family-owned Hobby Lobby chain of arts and crafts stores told the Supreme Court on Monday that it supports Supreme Court review of a government case on the constitutionality of the birth-control mandate in the new federal health care law.
Lawsuit: Gov’t Engaged in ‘Conscious Political Strategy to Marginalize and Delegitimize’ Catholic ‘Religious Views’
CNSNews: The Archdiocese of Washington, D.C., is arguing in a new lawsuit that the Obama administration is engaged in a “conscious political strategy to marginalize and delegitimize” Catholic “religious views on contraception by holding them up for ridicule on the national stage.”
CNSNews: That language said that until then the administration could not force employers, insurers or individuals to buy or provide insurance coverage for an item or service if they had “moral or religious objections” to it. However, the Republican House leadership only stood by that position for one day.
The Catholic Key: Presentations included an update on the HHS contraception mandate by Kevin Ther[io]t of the Alliance Defending Freedom; ‘Is there a future for conscience rights in health care’ by Catholic Medical Association Executive Director John Brehany, Ph.D., STL; an historical review of religious liberty by Thomas More Society President Tom Brejcha; the interaction of privacy and religious liberty rights by attorney Eddie Greim; and a consideration of strategies for the future by National Lawyers Association President John Farnan.
Jim DeMint at the Wall Street Journal: Now that the government shutdown has ended and the president has preserved ObamaCare for the time being, it’s worth explaining why my organization, the Heritage Foundation, and other conservatives chose this moment to fight—and why we will continue to fight. The reason is simple: to protect the American people from the harmful effects of this law.
EU: While 1.3 Million Sign The Pro-life Petition, Radical Pro-abortion-politicians Don’t Want To Learn The Lesson.
J.C. von Krempach at Turtle Bay and Beyond: These days there is a lot of excitement in the European Parliament about a so-called “Own-Initiative Report” originating from the Parliament’s “Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality“, and drafted by the Portuguese radical left MEP Edite Estrela. The report, which is likely to be voted in the EP Plenary on 22 October, deals with so-called “Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights”. Or rather, it seeks to promote a completely distorted understanding of those issues
Catholic World News: Five hundred employees of Santa Clara University have signed a petition opposing the Jesuit university’s recent decision to end insurance coverage of elective abortions, the Contra Costa Times reported.
Aleteia: The current Supreme Court term is set to address freedom of speech for pro-life demonstrations, prayer in legislative settings, and religious freedom.
Christianity Today: According to Becket’s scorecard, only 1 of the 35 non-profit lawsuits filed against the mandate has been “decided on the merits,” with the rest only receiving “rulings on procedural issues such as timing.” By contrast, 30 of the 39 for-profit lawsuits filed against the mandate have “secured injunctive relief,” while only 5 have not. The Alliance Defending Freedom offered its own scorecard earlier this month.
Brian Simboli at Crisis Magazine: Examples abound of threats to religious liberty. Many lawsuits are underway about the HHS mandate’s threat to conscience rights. Extensive documentation has been submitted to Congress concerning alleged IRS targeting of pro-life groups. Alliance Defending Freedom released a tape of an IRS agent haranguing a pro-life group. The recent SCOTUS ruling about the Defense of Marriage Act unfairly ascribed negative motives to defenders of traditional marriage.
All Americans, including family business owners, have the constitutionally protected freedom to live and do business according to their faith. The Obama administration has been attempting to deprive Americans of this cherished liberty.
Religion Clause Blog: The complaint (full text) in Reaching Souls International, Inc. v. Sebelius, (WD OK, filed 10/11/2013) contends that even under the final regulations that allow religious non-profits to have a third-party administrator furnish contraceptive coverage, plaintiffs’ religious exercise is burdened because they are required to facilitate coverage for contraceptives that they consider to be abortifacients.
The Hill: Planned Parenthood’s advocacy arm slammed Republicans on Tuesday over proposals to roll back ObamaCare’s contraception mandate as part of a fiscal agreement.
Religion Clause Blog: The Thomas More Society announced that a petition for certiorari (full text) was filed today in the U.S. Supreme Court seeking review of the 6th Circuit’s decision in Autocam Corp. v. Sebelius.
Bishops’ Pro-Life Expert: Reg Would Force Parents to Pay For Daughters to Get Sterilization-Contraception-Abortifacient Counselling
CNSNews: In addition, Doerflinger said all parents need to know that the Obamacare regulation also requires health insurance plans to cover “private counseling sessions with every woman and girl that is of child-bearing capacity”–typically starting at age 12–“about this full range of sterilization, contraceptives, and abortifacient drugs,” and if parents oppose that, they need to tell the doctor that it “violates their parental rights.”