James Dobson, the famed Christian author and radio broadcaster whose books on family life and family issues have sold millions, on Friday said that he considers it a great victory for a Denver federal court to have struck down the Obamacare abortifacient mandate.
WND reported on Friday that U.S. District Judge Robert Blackburn issued an injunction preventing the federal government from imposing the abortifacient mandate or its penalties against Dobson and his radio ministry, Family Talk.
Even though the ministry’s offices were closed on Friday, in a note to his friends, Dobson wrote, “We are celebrating and thanking the Lord this morning. Victory is ours. We won our case against [former Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen] Sebelius and the Obama administration.”
He continued, “Judge Blackburn wrote a powerful statement, which even used pro-life language, (i.e., referring to a ‘human fetus’). He defended my right to follow the dictates of my conscience. It was eloquent.”
He explained then what the ministry and its few dozen employees were facing.
“The mandate requiring that we provide abortifacients such as the morning after pill would have begun on May 1st. After that, if we hadn’t prevailed, fines amounting to $800,000 per year would have kicked in,” he said.
“We would have closed our doors.”
Dobson noted the lawyers at the Alliance Defending Freedom, who handled the legal work for his ministry.
“Alan [Sears, of the ADF] said this is one of the most significant religious liberty cases in American history, because never before has a citizen been required by a chief executive to take the life of another human being,” he said.
He then recalled what he had written earlier, in a commentary about the issue.
“I believe in the rule of law, and it has been my practice since I was in college to respect and honor those in authority over us. It is my desire to do so now. However, this assault on the sanctity of human life takes me where I cannot go. I WILL NOT pay the surcharge for abortion services. The amount of the surcharge is irrelevant. To pay one cent for the killing of babies is egregious to me, and I will do all I can to correct a government that lies to me about its intentions and then tries to coerce my acquiescence with extortion. It would be a violation of my most deeply held convictions to disobey what I consider to be the principles in Scripture. The Creator will not hold us guiltless if we turn a deaf ear to the cries of His innocent babies. So come and get me if you must, Mr. President. I will not bow before your wicked regulation.”
The Family Talk case was among more than 100 lawsuits brought by religious ministries, individuals and organizations and companies against Obama’s health-care takeover on the grounds it violates the religious rights of Christians by forcing them to pay for abortion-causing procedures.
When the lawsuit was filed on his behalf in 2013, Dobson, who founded Family Talk in 2010, explained: “We are suing [then-HHS Secretary] Kathleen Sebelius for forcing or trying to force all of us to give abortifacient medications to our employees, and I just absolutely refuse to do it. We’ll close down before I’ll do it.”
The vast majority of the rulings in the lawsuits have favored the Christians, but a federal precedent is expected to be set this year by the U.S. Supreme Court, which accepted for argument a pair of cases.
Oral arguments in the Conestoga Wood and Hobby Lobby cases already have been held.
Word of the injunction was confirmed by the Alliance Defending Freedom, which is handling the Dobson case and dozens of others on the issue.
The Becket Fund also is handling a large number of the cases, including the Hobby Lobby case before the Supreme Court.
The Obama administration had demanded 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, 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 when the case was launched. “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 charges the government violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, the First and Fifth Amendments to the U. S. Constitution and the Administrative Procedure Act.
Dobson said then 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.
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.”