Right to Life of Michigan files lawsuit against HHS birth control mandate


Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Tue Nov 05, 2013 15:21 EST


GRAND RAPIDS, Michigan, November 5, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A Michigan pro-life group is arguing in a new lawsuit that it is unconstitutional for the Obama administration to force it to pay for insurance coverage that funds drugs that can cause exactly what the group is dedicated to fighting – abortion.

Right to Life of Michigan has filed a federal lawsuit against the Obama government's Affordable Care Act, claiming that provisions in the health insurance scheme that would require the organization to provide insurance that covers contraceptives and abortion-causing drugs are a violation of religious freedom and freedom from coerced speech. 

"As an organization whose sole purpose is to advocate for the protection of human life, especially nascent human life, it is offensive to have the government impose on us a requirement to purchase something that violates our very mission," Ed Rivet, Legislative Director of Right to Life of Michigan, told LifeSiteNews.

"We are unique among plaintiffs in the various HHS Mandate cases," Mr Rivet explained. "We're not a business, we're not affiliated with a church. We don't take a position against all forms of birth control. But we could not remain passive in a case where we are being forced to purchase a so-called ‘health benefit’ that violates our conscience."

The lawsuit names Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the Treasury and Labor departments and officials, as defendants.

The 45-page lawsuit, filed by attorney Michael Rizik Jr. on November 4 in the U.S. District Court in Grand Rapids, states that Right to Life of Michigan has 33 full-time employees and 10 part-time employees, and claims that the ObamaCare mandate violates the pro-life group's deeply held religious beliefs.

Right to Life of Michigan states that most of its employees are Catholic or Evangelical Christians, and that “All employees subscribed unequivocally to plaintiff’s sole and exclusive mission protecting life.” 

“The mandate, therefore, forces employers and individuals to violate their religious beliefs," says the lawsuit, “because it requires employers and individuals to pay for insurance from insurance issuers which fund and directly provide for drugs, devices and services which violate their deeply held religious beliefs, as well, in this plaintiff, reasoned reflection, and sole reason for existence as an organization.”

The lawsuit also contends that the ObamaCare regulations violate constitutionally guaranteed freedom from coerced, government-dictated speech. 

“Not only is abortion disordered, but it violates the due process of the laws accorded every human being, and belies reasoned reflection and scientific fact on when life begins. As such, abortion is an act of injustice, and the mandate forces (Right to Life) to violate its only reason for existence,” the statement of claim argues.

Right to Life of Michigan is asking the court to issue preliminary and permanent injunctions to stop the government from enforcing the mandate against themselves and other religious individuals, employers, companies and groups “that object to funding and providing insurance coverage for abortion, abortifacients, and related education and counseling."