ALEXANDRIA, La. and HARRISBURG, Pa. – Louisiana College’s victory over the Obama administration’s abortion-pill mandate Wednesday puts the number of Alliance Defending Freedom wins against the mandate at 20-0. In addition, another ADF client, Conestoga Wood Specialties in Pennsylvania, received a district court order Thursday against the mandate as a result of its June 30 victory at the U.S. Supreme Court in Conestoga Wood Specialties v. Burwell.
In its ruling against the mandate in Louisiana College v. Sebelius, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana, Alexandria Division, called the government’s claimed attempt at an accommodation for non-profit religious organizations like Louisiana College “a subterfuge.”
“All Americans should oppose unjust laws that force people – under threat of punishment – to give up their freedom to live and work according to their beliefs,” said ADF Senior Counsel Kevin Theriot. “In the case of Louisiana College, it simply wants to continue to operate as a Christian college as it has since its founding in 1906. The court did the right thing in striking down the mandate as it applies to the school’s health insurance coverage and in identifying the flaws in the administration’s so-called ‘accommodation’ of religious organizations, which, as we’ve said all along, is no accommodation at all.”
The “accommodation,” recently rejected by the U.S. Supreme Court itself in an Illinois lawsuit, requires private colleges to “self-certify” their compliance with the mandate by filling out a form that authorizes their insurance companies to cover objectionable items and services.
“In this case, we would go so far as to say that self-certification is vastly more than a mere ‘administrative’ act,” the district court wrote in its opinion Wednesday. “Rather the challenged regulations and their application trigger a subterfuge requiring indirect action the regulations could not do if they applied to Plaintiff directly.”
“The cure is actually worse than the disease,” Theriot explained. “It’s bad enough when the government forces you to do something objectionable; it’s worse when the government forces you to instruct someone else to do something objectionable.”
“The administration’s narrow gesture does nothing to protect faith-based employers from the mandate, which the court rightly found to violate federal law,” said ADF Senior Counsel David Cortman. “Whether we are talking about non-profit Christian organizations like Louisiana College or family-owned businesses like Conestoga Wood Specialties, the government has no business putting religious freedom on the negotiating table, or picking and choosing who is allowed to exercise faith and how.”
- Pronunciation guide: Theriot (TAIR’-ee-oh)
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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