Dr. James Dobson, the longtime family values advocate who now reaches millions through his Family Talk ministry, has filed a lawsuit against Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius over the Obamacare abortion mandate.
“We believe that every human life, from the moment of conception, is sacred and a gift from God, and we cannot cooperate with this immoral mandate without violating our most deeply held religious beliefs,” Dobson said.
The case against Sebelius, the pro-abortion former Kansas governor who held parties for late-term abortionists, was brought by the Alliance Defending Freedom on behalf of Dobson and Family Talk in U.S. District Court in Denver.
The Obama administration is demanding that Family Talk’s third-party insurance administrator provide abortion-inducing drugs and devices to Family Talk employees.
Whether the employees want the products is irrelevant under the Obamacare mandate, which requires the provision regardless of the beliefs of the employer and employees.
As a Christian ministry, Family Talk’s self-insured health plan excludes coverage of abortion-inducing drugs and devices. But the complaint notes that if Family Talk does not comply with the mandate’s requirements by May 1, 2014, it will be subject to fines up to $36,500 per employee annually.
“The government has put religious employers to a cruel choice: ‘Abandon your religious beliefs or be fined out of existence,'” said ADF lead counsel Matthew Bowman. “Thankfully, the Constitution and other federal laws don’t allow that.”
The Obama administration was asked to provide an exemption for religious employers, but officials defined the exemption so narrowly that workers at Christian colleges, nursing homes, soup kitchens and parachurch ministries are not protected.
“According to the administration, Family Talk is not ‘religious enough’ for an exemption,” said Martin Nussbaum of Lewis Roca Rothgerber LLP, who is serving as co-counsel in the lawsuit. “Yet sanctity of life and protecting the unborn have long been core religious convictions for Dr. Dobson and Family Talk.”
Dobson founded Family Talk in March 2010. Its centerpiece is a daily 30-minute radio broadcast, “Dr. James Dobson’s Family Talk,” that seeks to reach young and old with the Judeo-Christian worldview of the family.
The lawsuit, Dr. James C. Dobson v. Kathleen Sebelius, was filed yesterday in the U. S. District Court for the District of Colorado. It argues that the mandate violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, the First and Fifth Amendments to the U. S. Constitution and the Administrative Procedure Act.
Dobson and special guests Martin Nussbaum, Alan Sears and Matt Bowman will discuss the lawsuit on programs that will air Dec. 16 and 17. An archive of the show will be posted on the Family Talk website.
ADF said the lawsuit challenges the legality and constitutionality of the mandate, which requires religious employers to provide insurance coverage for abortifacients, sterilization and contraception to employees regardless of religious or moral objections.
“The government shouldn’t be able to punish Americans for exercising their fundamental freedoms,” said ADF Senior Legal Counsel Matt Bowman. “Any government willing to force a family-run Christian ministry to participate in immoral acts under the threat of crippling fines is a government everyone should fear.”
Dobson said his ministry “believes in living out the religious convictions we hold to and talk about on the air.”
“As Americans, we should all be free to live according to our faith and to honor God in our work,” he said. “The Constitution protects that freedom so that the government cannot force anyone to act against his or her sincerely held religious beliefs. But the mandate ignores that and leaves us with a choice no American should have to make: comply and abandon your religious freedom, or resist and be fined for your faith.”
The complaint argues “one of the prohibitions of the Ten Commandments (‘thou shalt not murder’) precludes [Family Talk] from facilitating, assisting in, or enabling the coverage of arrangements for payments for drugs that can and do destroy very young human beings in the womb.”
Meanwhile, the Obama administration has exempted “thousands of other organizations” that it favors, the case points out.
Under Obama’s “supposed accommodation” for religious employers, the administraion continues “to treat entities like Family Talk as second-class religious organizations, not entitled to the same religious freedom rights as substantially similar entities.”
Dobson believes “that the termination of the life of a preborn child by, among other means, abortion-inducing drugs and devices, and related education and counseling, including by means of acting after fertilization to prevent the newly formed embryo from implanting into his or her mother’s uterus, is an intrinsic evil and a sin against God for which plaintiffs will be held accountable.”
The complaint contests the Obama administration’s attempt to use religious organizations “as the central cog in the government’s scheme for expanding access to contraceptive and abortifacient services.”
A number of other organizations and individuals already have brought similar cases, including one that the U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear.
Another pro-life leader, Jim Sedlak of the American Life League, said that in imposing such abortion mandates the Obama administration is doing “the work of Satan.”