WASHINGTON — The United States Supreme Court has declined to hear a challenge to the Obamacare abortion pill mandate, and the insurance requirement as a whole, as presented by Liberty University.
As previously reported, the Virginia-based university had sued the Obama administration last year, seeking to strike down the entirety of Obamacare by asserting that Congress has no authority to force Americans to purchase an unwanted product. Liberty’s lawsuit is the only legal challenge of its kind tackling both the employer abortion pill mandate and the insurance mandate in its totality.
“If we win on the employer mandate, then the mandate would be gone for religious and non-religious employers,” Mat Staver of Liberty Counsel, which is representing the university, told reporters earlier this year.
In July, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously rejected Liberty University’s arguments in challenging Obamacare, upholding the requirement as being rational.
“The employer mandate is no monster,” it wrote. “Rather, it is simply another example of Congress’s longstanding authority to regulate employee compensation offered and paid for by employers in interstate commerce.”
Therefore, Liberty Counsel vowed to take the matter to the United States Supreme Court. In August, the Fourth Circuit granted the university a stay against the Obamacare mandate until the case was heard by the nation’s highest court, but issued a separate order later in the day denying the stay.
“Petitioner Liberty University is a private non-profit Christian university with sincerely held religious beliefs that prohibit it from playing any part in surgical or chemical abortions, including facilitating, subsidizing, easing, funding, or supporting abortions, or paying for abortion inducing drugs or devices as is required in order for it to comply with the Employer Mandate,” the university’s appeal to the Supreme Court stated.
“Individuals are consumers, but Congress cannot force them to consume health insurance,” it continued. “Employers hire employees, but Congress lacks authority to force them to provide those employees with health insurance or severely fine them for refusing to do so.”
While the court declined to hear Liberty University’s appeal, which would have caused the court to re-think key parts of Obamacare that it had upheld previously, it did agree to hear the cases of two Christian businesses that had challenged solely the abortion pill mandate in the law.
As previously reported, the Supreme Court announced last week that it would hear two cases: Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. and Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp. v. Sebelius.
“This is a major step for the Greens and their family businesses in an important fight for Americans’ religious liberty,” stated Kyle Duncan, general counsel of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty and lead attorney for Hobby Lobby. “We are hopeful that the Supreme Court will clarify once and for all that religious freedom in our country should be protected for family business owners like the Greens.”
“The government shouldn’t be able to punish Americans for exercising their fundamental freedoms,” said Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel David Cortman, who represents Conestoga Wood Specialties Corporation. “The administration has no business forcing citizens to choose between making a living and living free. We trust the Supreme Court will agree. A government that forces any citizen to participate in immoral acts—like the use of abortion drugs—under threat of crippling fines is a government everyone should fear.”
Photo: E. Overby