DENVER — A federal court issued an order Thursday that stops enforcement of the Obama administration’s abortion pill mandate against a Colorado businessman while an Alliance Defending Freedom lawsuit challenging the mandate continues in court. 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.
“Every American, including business owners, should be free to live and do business according to their faith. For the time being, Stephen Briscoe will be able to do just that,” said Senior Counsel Michael J. Norton, a former U.S. attorney. “The cost of freedom for this businessman could be millions of dollars per year in fines that will cripple his businesses if the Obama administration ultimately has its way. This lawsuit ensures that Washington bureaucrats cannot force families to abandon their faith just to earn a living.”
Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys obtained the order against the mandate on behalf of Stephen W. Briscoe, the owner of several senior citizen facilities. Briscoe is an evangelical Christian who specifically objects to being forced to provide coverage for abortifacients. The administration opposed the order, arguing, contrary to the U.S. Constitution, that people of faith forfeit their religious liberty once they engage in business. The mandate could subject Briscoe to more than $5 million in fines per year if he does not abide by its requirements.
Briscoe owns several separate Colorado companies that operate senior independent living residences, assisted living centers, and skilled nursing facilities along with related businesses that manage such facilities. His businesses collectively employ more than 200 full-time employees. The lawsuit, Briscoe v. Sebelius, was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado in February.
“The First Amendment protects the God-given freedoms of Americans to live and do business according to their faith,” added Natalie Decker, one of nearly 2,300 allied attorneys with Alliance Defending Freedom. “Americans don’t want politicians deciding what faith is, who the faithful are, and where and how that faith may be lived out.”
Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys and allied attorneys are also litigating 10 other lawsuits against the mandate. The lawsuits represent a large cross-section of Protestants and Catholics who object to the mandate.
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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