This past Friday, Federal District Court Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, issued a preliminary injunction banning the enforcement of the HHS Mandate in a lawsuit filed by The Thomas More Law Center (TMLC), a national public interest law firm based in Ann Arbor, Michigan. TMLC filed the lawsuit on behalf of two brothers, Shaun and Michael Willis, one a Catholic and the other a Protestant, and their family-owned law firm, Willis Law, located in Kalamazoo, MI.
The lawsuit is one of several legal challenges the TMLC has mounted on behalf of committed Christians in direct opposition to the HHS Mandate promulgated by the Obama Administration. The HHS Mandate, which refers to a set of regulations adopted by the Department of Health and Human Services, forces employers to include coverage for abortion inducing pharmaceuticals, sterilization, and related counseling and education as part of employer sponsored health care plans, regardless of any moral or religious objections that the employer may have.
Richard Thompson, President and Chief Counsel of the Thomas More Law Center commented, “This case is about the religious freedom of Christians to peaceably practice their faith free from government coercion. In direct violation of one of America’s founding principles, the Federal Government knowingly forces those who believe in the sanctity of human life to choose between following the law and following their conscience.” In this particular case, the Department of Justice did not oppose TMLC’s motion for the entry of the Preliminary Injunction.
Both Shaun and Michael Willis are devout pro-life Christians with a deep religious conviction that abortion, abortifacients and life-ending contraceptives are gravely immoral practices which result in the destruction of innocent life.
Prior to the HHS Mandate, the Willis brothers were able to exclude coverage for life-ending contraception, sterilization, abortion, and abortifacients. However, these exclusions now put the Willis Brothers in violation of the HHS Mandate; a violation that would have cost them over half a million dollars in fines per year had they not obtained an injunction. The preliminary injunction now allows the Willis Brothers to continue providing health insurance to their employees that is in not in violation of their deeply held religious beliefs and conscience.
For the Willis brothers, being forced by the government to fund, promote and assist others in obtaining services which destroy innocent life is tantamount to being a participant in a gravely immoral practice.
The Willis brothers’ Christian values are evident in their support for multiple faith- based organizations including Kalamazoo Right to Life, Alternatives Pregnancy Care Center, and Young Life Kalamazoo.
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The lawsuit, filed on July 24, 2013 by the TMLC on behalf of the Willis brothers, claims that the HHS Mandate violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and the Administrative Procedure Act while also challenging the constitutionality of the HHS Mandate under the First Amendment rights to the Free Exercise of Religion, Free Speech and the Establishment Clause.
Named as Defendants in the lawsuit are Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services; Thomas Perez, Secretary of the Department of Labor; Jack Lew, Secretary of the Department of Treasury; and their respective departments.
The Thomas More Law Center defends and promotes America’s Judeo-Christian heritage and moral values, including the religious freedom of Christians, time-honored family values, and the sanctity of human life.