Family Talk Files Lawsuit Challenging Obama’s Abortion Pill Mandate
December 11, 2013
Colorado Springs, CO — Dr. James Dobson and his ministry, Family Talk, filed a lawsuit Tuesday in the U.S. District Court in Denver challenging the Obama administration's abortion pill mandate. The lawsuit, brought by Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) and Lewis Roca Rothgerber LLP, asks the court to invalidate the requirement that Family Talk cause its third party administrator to provide abortion-inducing drugs and devices to Family Talk employees.
“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,” said Dr. Dobson, Family Talk’s founder and president.
As a Christian ministry, Family Talk’s self-insured health plan excludes coverage of abortion-inducing drugs and devices. 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."
Although the Obama administration has exempted what it calls “religious employers” from complying with the mandate, the definition is so narrow that Christian colleges, soup kitchens, nursing homes, and parachurch ministries like Family Talk, do not qualify.
“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.”
Dr. 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. Dr. Dobson and his special guests—Martin Nussbaum, Alan Sears, and Matt Bowman--will be discussing this lawsuit on programs that will air on December 16th and 17th and will be posted on the Family Talk Website thereafter.
Alliance Defending Freedom is an alliance-building, non-profit legal organization that advocates for the right of people and institutions to freely exercise their faith. It was founded in 1994 by Dr. Dobson and other Christian leaders. Lewis Roca Rothgerber LLP is a law firm with offices throughout the West and Southwest that serves religious and other organizations.