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AUL files amicus brief challenging HHS mandate

Today, Americans United for Life’s legal team filed an amicus curiae brief in the case of Wheaton College; Belmont Abbey College v. Sebelius, in the District of Columbia Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals.

Belmont Abbey College and Wheaton College filed lawsuits in 2011 and 2012 (respectively) challenging the Obama Administration’s “HHS mandate,” which requires that employers provide insurance coverage of all forms of FDA-approved “contraception,” including life-ending drugs and devices classified as “emergency contraception.”

Earlier this year, the federal district court ruled that these cases were not “ripe” for consideration and/or that the schools did not yet have standing to sue—in other words, the court did not think the time was quite right for such challenges, because: (a) the Obama administration’s purported “safe harbor” delays the time when the colleges will be forced to comply with the HHS mandate (i.e., providing insurance coverage for life-ending drugs and devices) until January of 2013, and (b) the Obama administration has stated they intend to make modifications regarding how employers with religious objections may comply with the HHS mandate (the administration does not plan to remove the requirement entirely, however, and therefore will violate the freedom of conscience of employers with religious, ethical, or moral objections to the HHS mandate–regardless of any change in how the mandate is implemented).

The cases were consolidated on appeal, and the Becket Fund (attorneys for the colleges) asked AUL to file an amicus curiae brief.  AUL’s brief focuses on the mechanism of action in “emergency contraception”—i.e., that it can end the life of an unborn child.  In this case, AUL represents six national medical and ethics organizations — the Association of American Physicians & Surgeons, American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians & Gynecologists, Catholic Medical Association, The National Catholic Bioethics Center, Physicians for Life, and National Association of Pro life Nurses.