A federal lawsuit filed Monday seeks to block the Obama administration’s mandate that employer-provided health insurance cover possible abortion-inducing drugs and sterilization. The case is unique among the dozens of court challenges against the health care law because it is time-specific, seeking to halt the mandate within 90 days.
If the mandate is not blocked, Denver-based Hercules Industries — an air-conditioning manufacturing company owned by members of a Catholic family — would be forced to offer the additional coverage when its self-insured health plan renews on Nov. 1.
Hercules is represented by the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF), which filed the lawsuit naming U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius as the defendant.
“The abortion-pill mandate unconstitutionally coerces the leadership of Hercules Industries to violate their religious beliefs and consciences under the threat of heavy fines and penalties,” said ADF Counsel Matt Bowman. “That is simply not acceptable in America.”
ADF filed two other lawsuits against the mandate in February on behalf of private Christian schools in Pennsylvania and Louisiana.
There is little chance of relief coming from Congress before the November election. A measure seeking to repeal the mandate was defeated in the U.S. Senate in February. Meanwhile, a similar measure, H.R. 1179 may remain in a House committee despite having 214 Republican and 10 Democrat co-sponsors — and support from groups like the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, National Right to Life Committee, Americans United for Life, Christian Medical Association and Family Research Council.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Read Newland v. Sebelius.
Read H.R. 1179.