The Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the individual mandate within the Obama health-care law seemed to be the last word in a fierce legal fight.
But on Monday, the Supreme Court ordered the Justice Department to respond to a suit filed by Liberty Counsel on behalf of Liberty University. The school contends both the individual and employer mandates are unconstitutional on the grounds that they infringe upon the freedom of religious expression.
The case was filed in March of 2010 on the very same day President Obama signed the bill into law. It’s been stalled because a federal appeals court ruled that the suit could not proceed because no one had been penalized or taxed yet through the mandates. The recent Supreme Court decision essentially struck down that ruling.
Liberty Counsel Chairman Mathew Staver says no court has ever ruled on the constitutionality of the employer mandate or the religious freedom concerns. Abortion funding is at the heart of the contention that the mandates violate the right to religious expression — something Staver says he saw right away but others didn’t notice until the new government rules on mandatory contraception coverage.
The Obama administration insists there is no taxpayer funding of abortion in the laws but Staver pinpoints why he believes that position is patently false.
“It funds it in two ways,” said Staver. “First all, for the individual, for the first time in history, it requires each individual to pay a particular fee and that goes directly into an abortion fund and that fund funds abortion. This fee doesn’t go into a general fund, some of which funds other surgeries or medical treatment, some of which might fund abortion. No, this goes into a specific fund that funds abortion. (It’s the) very first time in history you can trace the dollar to the actual abortion.”
Staver says that provision forces individuals and business leaders to subsidize something they vehemently oppose.
“It requires religious employers, and other employers but certainly religious employers to also fund abortion as well,” he said. “And for Liberty University, a Christian university, and for others that’s simply a line we can’t cross. That is a direct collision with the free exercise of religion.”
Staver says an ultimate victory in this case could devastate Obamacare — especially if the individual mandate goes down.
“It could ultimately make a big hole in the bottom of the Obamacare boat or completely torpedo it and sink it altogether.”