WASHINGTON, Feb. 1, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), a pro-life legal organization that focuses on constitutional law, said it is extremely disappointed that the proposed rule change announced today by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) concerning the mandate does not apply to all Americans.
In its announcement today, the HHS proposed a new "accommodation" for religious, non-profit organizations and companies that object to providing insurance coverage for contraceptive and abortion-inducing services based on their religious beliefs. The new proposal, however, expressly excludes any exemption to for-profit, secular businesses.
"We're extremely disappointed that the Obama Administration does not respect the religious beliefs of all Americans," said Francis Manion, Senior Counsel of the ACLJ. "This country's laws and Constitution protect the religious freedom of all Americans, whether organized into religious bodies or not. Religious believers who simply want to conduct their businesses in a manner consistent with their religious beliefs have the same right to religious liberty as everybody else."
The ACLJ is studying the exact ramifications of the HHS accommodations proposed today. But what is clear is that today's proposed rule change to the mandate does not provide any exemption to for-profit companies that are challenging the mandate on religious grounds.
The ACLJ has filed four direct lawsuits on behalf of for-profit companies, the latest suit filed last week on behalf of an Ohio company.
With the for-profit companies not affected by today's HHS proposed change, the ACLJ notes that it has had success – acquiring injunctions blocking the enforcement of the mandate.
"Courts in ten different cases have already granted injunctions that prohibit the Obama Administration from enforcing the mandate against for-profit business owners," said Manion. "That's because those courts have recognized what the Obama Administration apparently refuses to accept – that the mandate tramples on religious freedom in violation of the law. Today's failed attempt to fully address this issue shows that the Obama Administration has not yet gotten the message being sent loud and clear by the courts."
Manion added: "The ACLJ intends to carry on this fight until we secure, once and for all, the religious liberty of our clients. It has never been, and is not now, the law that Americans are required to leave their religious principles at the factory gate or office door. We are prepared to take this issue all the way to the Supreme Court of the United States."
In addition to the direct challenges, the ACLJ has filed 13 amicus briefs backing other legal challenges to the HHS mandate.
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SOURCE American Center for Law and Justice