WASHINGTON, D.C. (11-06-15) – Americans United for Life President and CEO Dr. Charmaine Yoest said that AUL is “optimistic that the Court will uphold Americans’ fundamental freedom of conscience” in its review of legal challenges to the landmark, anti-life law that is Obamacare. The U.S. Supreme Court announced that it will take up all seven of the cases challenging the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Mandate’s so-called “accommodation” that forces religious non-profit employers to facilitate insurance coverage for life-ending drugs and devices against their beliefs. Responding to the news that review was granted in seven cases – Zubik, David A. et al. v. Burwell, Priests for Life et al. v. Department of Health & Human Services, Roman Catholic Archbishop v. Burwell, East Texas Baptist University vs. Burwell, Little Sisters of the Poor et al. v. Burwell, Southern Nazarene University et al. v. Burwell, and Geneva College v. Burwell – Dr. Yoest said that AUL “looks forward to a discussion of the constitutional issues raised by a law that forces people to violate their First Amendment rights of conscience to satisfy the abortion-lobby’s additions to the healthcare law.
Claiming to “accommodate” religious employers, a regulation issued by HHS in August 2014 forces those with religious beliefs opposed to facilitating and paying for life-ending drugs and devices to hand over to the federal government the name and contact information “for any of the plan’s third party administrators and health insurance issuers.” The HHS regulation makes clear that the government will use that information to force the religious employer’s insurance carrier to include the objected-to items and services in the policies purchased by the religious employer.
AUL’s Dr. Yoest observed, “As the Court already held in the Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood cases, it is unlawful for the Obama Administration to threaten to impose crippling fines on those who object to participating in a purely ideological agenda that embraces life-ending drugs and devices. Those cases rightly found that Green and Hahn family businesses could not be punished for being pro-life. It is basic commonsense that the law likewise protects nuns, priests, and religious schools from similar coercion. AUL is confident that, once again, religious liberty and the freedom of conscience—principles that are protected by federal law and the Constitution—will prevail against the pro-abortion ideologues of the Obama Administration.”
AUL filed amicus briefs in support of the petition for certiorari.
In its briefs, AUL demonstrates that the life of a new human being begins at fertilization (conception), that so-called “emergency contraception” has post-fertilization effects that can prevent a new, developing human being from implanting in the uterus and thus ending his or her young life, and that forcing the religious employers such as Little Sisters of the Poor and Priests for Life to facilitate and provide coverage for such drugs violates their constitutionally protected freedom of conscience.
AUL’s briefs were filed on behalf of Association of American Physicians & Surgeons, American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians & Gynecologists, Christian Medical Association, Catholic Medical Association, The National Catholic Bioethics Center, Alabama Physicians for Life, National Association of Pro Life Nurses, and National Association of Catholic Nurses.
While optimistic about the eventual outcome of these cases, Dr. Yoest renewed AUL’s call on Congress to repeal the anti-life mandates of Obamacare and to enact the Health Care Conscience Rights Act, H.R. 940, noting that “religious non-profit employers such as Little Sisters of the Poor and Priests for Life should not be spending years in court to protect their basic right to be free from Big Abortion’s coercive agenda.”
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