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Supreme Court of the United States

Briscoe v. Burwell

Last Updated: 5/29/2020

Overview

What's at stake

  • The freedom to operate a business according to your deeply held religious beliefs without the fear of being punished by the government.
  • Christian business being forced to pay for abortion-inducing drugs and devices in violation of the owner’s  religious, pro-life beliefs.

Summary

Stephen Briscoe is a devout Evangelical Christian and the owner of several senior citizens facilities in Colorado. The facilities employ over 200 individuals. Mr. Briscoe seeks to operate his facilities in accordance with his deeply held religious beliefs, including his belief that life begins at conception, and objects to providing health insurance coverage, as required by the Obama Administration, for any drugs or devices that may cause an abortion. But when the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services issued a mandate requiring businesses to offer insurance coverage for abortion-inducing drugs and devices, sterilization, and contraception, Mr. Briscoe faced an unavoidable dilemma. Without relief from the court, he was required to either violate his religious beliefs by providing the objectionable items, or pay heavy fines and penalties that would bring his business to its knees. With the help of Alliance Defending Freedom, Mr. Briscoe filed a lawsuit challenging the abortion pill mandate. 

After initially denying Mr. Briscoe's request for a temporary restraining order, the Colorado federal district court ruled in favor of Mr. Briscoe and enjoined the enforcement of the HHS abortion pill mandate against Mr. Briscoe and his businesses.

While the Justice Department has appealed this favorable ruling and Alliance Defending Freedom is still fighting for Mr. Briscoe and his business, as well as several other businesses whose owners object to being forced to pay for abortion-inducing drugs and devices, the appeal is on hold until the U.S. Supreme Court resolves another Alliance Defending Freedom case—Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp. Until this battle is won, Alliance Defending Freedom will be on the front lines to advocate for every Christian business owner who simply wants the freedom to operate his or her business according to his or her faith.

Our role in this case

Alliance Defending Freedom represents Mr. Briscoe and his businesses on a pro bono basis, and is defending his freedom to operate his businesses according to his deeply held religious beliefs. 

Learn More
Resources

Legal Documents

Court
Title
Date
{"docs": [{"Court": "TrialCourt", "Title": "Denial of temporary restraining order", "FileName": "https://adflegal.blob.core.windows.net/mainsite-new/docs/default-source/documents/legal-documents/briscoe-v.-burwell/briscoe-v-burwell---denial-of-temporary-restraining-order.pdf", "Date": "2/27/13 11:06:46 PM"}, {"Court": "TrialCourt", "Title": "Permanent injunction order and judgment", "FileName": "https://adflegal.blob.core.windows.net/mainsite-new/docs/default-source/documents/legal-documents/briscoe-v.-burwell/briscoe-v-burwell---permanent-injunction-order-and-judgment.pdf", "Date": "1/27/15 11:06:46 PM"}, {"Court": "AppellateCourt", "Title": "Motion to voluntarily dismiss appeal", "FileName": "https://adflegal.blob.core.windows.net/mainsite-new/docs/default-source/documents/legal-documents/briscoe-v.-burwell/briscoe-v-burwell---motion-to-voluntarily-dismiss-appeal.pdf", "Date": "9/3/14 11:06:45 PM"}, {"Court": "TrialCourt", "Title": "Preliminary injunction", "FileName": "https://adflegal.blob.core.windows.net/mainsite-new/docs/default-source/documents/legal-documents/briscoe-v.-burwell/briscoe-v-burwell---preliminary-injunction.pdf", "Date": "9/6/13 11:06:46 PM"}, {"Court": "TrialCourt", "Title": "Complaint", "FileName": "https://adflegal.blob.core.windows.net/mainsite-new/docs/default-source/documents/legal-documents/briscoe-v.-burwell/briscoe-v-burwell---complaint.pdf", "Date": "2/4/13 11:06:46 PM"}, {"Court": "TrialCourt", "Title": "Motion for temporary restraining order", "FileName": "https://adflegal.blob.core.windows.net/mainsite-new/docs/default-source/documents/legal-documents/briscoe-v.-burwell/briscoe-v-burwell---motion-for-temporary-restraining-order.pdf", "Date": "2/19/13 11:06:46 PM"}]}

Additional Resources

 

Video: ObamaCare mandate is worse than you think (approx. 2:00).

 
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