More suits by businesses and schools challenging Affordable Care Act mandate

Howard Friedman, Religion Clause

Another lawsuit has been filed by Catholic private business owners objecting to the Affordable Care Act mandate that requires employee health insurance policies to cover contraceptive services. The complaint (full text) in Yep v. U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (ND IL, filed 8/22/2012) alleges that the federal Mandate, as well as a similar state law mandate, violate plaintiffs’ rights under the 1st Amendment and RFRA and under parallel state statutory and constitutional provisions. Plaintiffs are Triune Health Group, Inc. and its co-owners Christpher and Mary Yep. The complaint alleges in part that the plaintiffs believe that the procreative capacity of human beings represents a precious gift from God by which individuals are allowed to participate in God’s plan to share life and that, as a result, any acts of deliberate interference with that procreative capacity bound up with acts of unitive human love – including artificial contraception, abortion, and/or sterilization – are gravely wrong and sinful. They also believe that the use and promotion of reproductive technologies that involve the destruction of human embryos or which purport to divide and sunder the procreative core of human sexuality from its unitive elements are gravely wrong and sinful. That both the federal and state governments would coerce plaintiffs to flout such profound and fundamental beliefs seems totally at odds with repeated declarations of the Founding Fathers.

A press release from the Thomas More Society announced the filing of the lawsuit.

Meanwhile, two more Christian colleges filed suit in an Indiana federal district court challenging the federal mandate.  The complaint (full text) in Grace Schools v. Sebelius, (ND IN, filed 8/23/2012) asserts a variety of 1st Amendment claims, as well as 5th Amendment, RFRA and Administrative Procedure Act claims on behalf of Grace College and Seminary and Biola University.  Among the allegations:

The Mandate adopts a particular theological view of what is acceptable moral complicity in provision of abortifacient coverage and imposes it upon all religionists who must either conform their consciences or suffer penalty.

Alliance Defending Freedom issued a press release announcing the filing of the lawsuit.