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Bible publisher asks for immediate halt to abortion pill mandate

Court schedules hearing in Tyndale House Publishers case
The #1 Thing Your Church Board Should Do Next and How It Can Help Protect Religious Freedom

UPDATE (10/12/2012): The court has rescheduled the hearing in this case from Oct. 16 to Oct. 29 at 10:30 a.m. EDT.

WASHINGTON — A federal court has scheduled an Oct. 16 hearing to consider whether to halt enforcement of the Obama administration’s abortion pill mandate against a Bible publisher. The court scheduled the hearing in response to a preliminary injunction motion that Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys representing Tyndale House Publishers filed Monday.

The hearing in Tyndale House Publishers v. Sebelius is the first in the publisher’s Oct. 2 lawsuit filed with the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. Tyndale House, based in Carol Stream, Ill., is the world’s largest privately held Christian publisher of books, Bibles, and digital media and directs 96.5 percent of its profits to religious non-profit causes worldwide.

“Bible publishers should be free to do business according to the book that they publish,” said Senior Legal Counsel Matt Bowman. “To say that a Bible publisher is not religious is simply absurd. This case demonstrates just how clearly the Obama administration is disregarding religious freedom to achieve its own political purposes. We filed this motion because ObamaCare demands that Americans choose between two poison pills: either desert your faith by complying, or resist and be punished.”

The publisher is subject to the mandate because Obama administration rules say for-profit corporations are categorically non-religious, even though Tyndale House is strictly a publisher of Bibles and other Christian materials and is primarily owned by the non-profit Tyndale House Foundation. The foundation provides grants to help meet the physical and spiritual needs of people around the world.

The mandate 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. Tyndale House specifically objects to covering abortifacients.

“Americans today clearly agree with America’s founders: government bureaucrats are not qualified to decide what faith is, who the faithful are, and where and how that faith may be lived out,” Bowman said.

On July 27, Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys obtained the first-ever court order against the Obama administration’s mandate on behalf of Colorado’s Hercules Industries and the Catholic family that owns it. That order temporarily suspends the mandate only against Hercules Industries while its lawsuit goes forward in court. Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys are seeking a similar order for Tyndale House.

Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys are also litigating three other lawsuits against the mandate: one in Indiana on behalf of Indiana’s Grace College and Seminary and California’s Biola University; one in Pennsylvania on behalf of Geneva College and The Seneca Hardwood Lumber Company and its owners, the Hepler family; and one in Louisiana on behalf of Louisiana College. The lawsuits represent a large cross-section of Protestants and Catholics who object to the mandate.

  • Pronunciation guide: Tyndale (TIN’-dale), Bowman (BOH’-min)

Alliance Defending Freedom (formerly Alliance Defense Fund) is an alliance-building legal ministry that advocates for the right of people to freely live out their faith.


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Matt Bowman
Matt Bowman
Senior Counsel, Director of Regulatory Practice
Matt Bowman serves as senior counsel and director of regulatory practice at Alliance Defending Freedom, where he focuses on the impact of administrative law on religious freedom, the sanctity of life, and family.