Christian College That Refused to Obey Obama HHS Mandate Wins Legal Battle

State   Steven Ertelt   Aug 14, 2014   |   5:32PM    Baton Rouge, LA

A Christian college that refused to obey the Obama administration’s HHS mandate, compelling it to pay for abortion-causing drugs for its employees, won a legal battle yesterday in its lawsuit.

Louisiana College’s lawsuit challenges the unconstitutional mandate, which requires religious employers to provide insurance coverage for abortion pills at no cost to employees regardless of religious or moral objections.

In response, a federal court issued a decision Wednesday in Louisiana College v. Sebelius that the Obama administration’s abortion pill mandate against Louisiana College’s employee health plan violates the school’s religious freedom.

pichealth16“Every American should be free to live and do business according to their faith,” said Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel Kevin Theriot. “The government shouldn’t punish people of faith for following their beliefs when making decisions for themselves or their organizations. That’s why this lawsuit should not be casually dismissed as the Obama administration would like to see happen.”

He added: “All Americans should oppose unjust laws that force people–under threat of punishment–to give up their freedom to live and work according to their beliefs. Louisiana College is a Christian college that simply wants to continue to operate as a Christian college as it has since its founding in1906. The court–in the first final ruling finding against the mandate that we are of–did the right thing in striking down the Obamacare abortion pill mandate as it applies to Louisiana College’s health insurance coverage.”

“This mandate leaves religious employers with no true choice: either comply and abandon your religious freedom and conscience, or resist and be punished,” said allied attorney and co-counsel Mike Johnson, dean of Louisiana College’s Pressler School of Law. “It is a shame that the Obama administration is opposing religious freedom rather than supporting it.”

In a brief, the college responded to attempts by the Obama administration to dismiss the case.

The college’s response, filed with the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana in Louisiana College v. Sebelius, pokes holes in the Obama administration’s contention that the lawsuit should be dismissed. The administration points to a notice it issued in March about a proposed rulemaking process that would require insurers rather than employers to provide abortion pill coverage.

“But the [notice] does not make that proposal or explain how it will work,” the response brief states. “Louisiana College affirms that even if its insurer provided the abortifacient coverage, this would still violate the College’s religious beliefs by forcing it to provide employees an objectionable plan. The [notice] therefore is not a concrete proposed rule that ‘if made final, would significantly amend’ the Mandate.”

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“Under the government’s position, no case can challenge the constitutionality of a statute or regulation if it may be changed in the future. That can be said of any law,” the brief continues. “If the government is still trying to figure out what the Mandate should require, it should withdraw it. Government shouldn’t be able to require compliance with a Mandate that it says is unfinished.”

The mandate has generated massive opposition from pro-life groups because it forces employers, regardless of their religious or moral convictions, to provide insurance coverage for abortion-inducing drugs, sterilization, and contraception under threat of heavy penalties.

This summer, Hobby Lobby won its battle with the Obama administration over the mandate.