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Diverse coalition opposes abortion pill mandate at US Supreme Court

60 friend-of-the-court briefs affirm gov’t shouldn’t force Americans to choose between making a living and living free

WASHINGTON — Sixty briefs filed with the U.S. Supreme Court this week encourage the high court to declare the Obama administration’s abortion pill mandate illegal in two major legal challenges the court agreed it will hear on March 25. The briefs outnumber the ones filed in favor of the mandate by nearly three to one. Alliance Defending Freedom and allied attorneys represent a Pennsylvania Mennonite family and its woodworking business in one of those cases, Conestoga Wood Specialties v. Sebelius.

“Unjust laws are not valid laws. Americans must be free to exercise their constitutionally protected liberties without punishment from the government,” said Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel David Cortman. “As the numerous briefs filed with the Supreme Court affirm, the administration has no business forcing citizens to choose between making a living and living free.”

The Hahns are Mennonite Christians in Pennsylvania who asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review their case after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit ruled 2-1 against them. The decision conflicts with most other circuits and with the vast majority of rulings on the mandate so far.

The briefs, filed in both Conestoga Wood Specialties v. Sebelius and The Becket Fund’s Hobby Lobby Stores v. Sebelius, include the attorneys general from 20 states, a diversity of organizations ranging from pro-life Democrats to libertarians, and a broad spectrum of both Catholic and Protestant religious groups.

“Every American has a right to fully and freely participate in every area of public life,” added Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Legal Counsel Matt Bowman. “We trust that the Supreme Court will uphold that principle.”

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 financial penalties if the mandate’s requirements aren’t met. That could cost the Hahn family $95,000 per day if it doesn’t agree to live contrary to its Christian convictions, according to a dissent that Judge Kent Jordan of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit wrote last year when the appellate court ruled against the Hahns.

Conestoga Wood Specialties owners Norman Hahn, Elizabeth Hahn, Norman Lemar Hahn, Anthony H. Hahn, and Kevin Hahn desire to run their company, a wholesale manufacturer of custom wood cabinet parts, in a manner that reflects their Christian beliefs, including their belief that God requires respect for the sanctity of human life.

Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys are lead counsel in the case together with co-counsel Randall Wenger of the Independence Law Center and Charles Proctor III of the Pennsylvania firm Proctor, Lindsay & Dixon. They are two of nearly 2,300 attorneys allied with Alliance Defending Freedom.

  • Pronunciation guide: Bowman (BOH’-min), Wenger (WENG’-ur)


Alliance Defending Freedom is an alliance-building, non-profit legal organization that advocates for the right of people to freely live out their faith.


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