A federal judge in Denver granted an injunction Thursday to a ministry founded by longtime Christian author and broadcaster James Dobson, Family Talk radio, preventing the enforcement of Obamacare’s abortifacient mandate.
His 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 Family Talk ministry was closed for Good Friday, and WND was unable to obtain a reaction immediately.
At the time the case was filed, Dobson issued a statement: “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.”
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. Sebelius recently announced her resignation, six months after the catastrophic rollout of the Obamacare government website.
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.”