Several pro-life legal organizations filed legal briefs with the Supreme Court today telling the nation’s highest court in advance of its consideration of the lawsuit challenging Obamacare that the controversial health care law compels Americans to fund abortions.
Nestled within the “individual mandate” in the Act—that portion of the Act requiring every American to purchase government-approved insurance or pay a penalty—is an “abortion premium mandate.”
“This violates the Free Exercise Clause because religious exemptions are made for groups such as the Amish who morally object to purchasing any insurance, but no exemptions are made for Americans who have religious or moral objections to abortion” explained Bioethics Defense Fund’s Dorinda C. Bordlee, lead counsel on the brief. Bordlee developed the novel theory with the help of Professor Mark Rienzi, a law professor at Catholic University who signed onto the brief in his capacity of senior counsel for The Becket Fund for Religous Liberty.
This mandate requires all persons enrolled in insurance plans that include elective abortion coverage to pay a separate premium from their own pockets to fund abortion. As a result, many pro-life Americans will have to decide between a plan that violates their consciences by funding abortion, or a plan that may not meet their health needs.
A powerhouse of pro-life and religious liberty organizations joined Bioethics Defense Fund’s brief that had originally been filed in the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, including Americans United for Life, Alliance Defense Fund, Life Legal Defense Foundation and The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty.
“President Obama’s healthcare overhaul includes an ‘abortion premium mandate’ that blatantly violates the conscience rights and First Amendment religious rights of millions of Americans,” AUL president Charmaine Yoest said. “Nowhere in the Constitution does it require Americans to violate their beliefs and pay for abortions.”
ADF Senior Counsel Steven Aden says Americans should not be compelled to pay for other people’s elective abortions.
“No one should be forced to violate their conscience by paying for abortions, but that’s precisely what ObamaCare does,” he explained. “ObamaCare requires that employees enrolled in certain health plans pay a separate insurance premium specifically to pay for other people’s elective abortions and offers no opt-out for religious or moral reasons. Such a mandate cannot survive constitutional scrutiny.”
BDF president and general counsel Nikolas Nikas said the individual mandate not only forces individuals into private purchases, it also effectively mandates personal payments for surgical abortion coverage, without exemption for individual’s religious or moral objections.
He told LifeNews in an email, “Like a Russian nesting doll, the individual mandate has nestled within it a hidden, but equally unconstitutional scheme that effectively imposes an ‘abortion premium mandate’ that violates the free exercise rights of millions of Americans who have religious objections to abortion.”
Nikas referenced the opportune timing of the Court’s briefing schedule, noting, “Bioethics Defense Fund and our co-counsel are pleased at this critical point to call the Court’s attention to the direct assault on religious liberty effected by both the abortion premium mandate found in the Act itself, as well as this first of many HHS mandates that the Act authorizes the Secretary of Health to implement without congressional approval.”
Set to go into effect in 2014, the unconstitutional provisions found in Section 1303 of the Obamacare Act compel enrollees in certain health plans to pay a separate abortion premium from their own pocket, without the ability to decline abortion coverage based on religious or moral objection.
The amicus brief filed today informs the Supreme Court that “[e]ven beyond the recent HHS mandate, the abortion premium mandate provisions found in the original Act are sufficient alone to substantially burden [Americans’] free exercise of religion.”
The friends-of-the-court represented in the Supreme Court brief include the American College of Pediatricians, Christian Medical & Dental Associations, American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Catholic Medical Association, Physicians for Life, National Association of Pro-Life Nurses, and Medical Students for Life of America.
Read the brief here: https://www.bdfund.org/uploads/file_606.pdf