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Louisiana College calls administration's bluff on mandate's religious freedom violations

Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys file brief opposing President Obama’s attempt to dismiss lawsuit

Tuesday, Aug 14, 2012
Attorney sound bite:  Kevin Theriot

ALEXANDRIA, La. — Louisiana College filed a response in federal court Friday to the U.S. Department of Justice’s motion to dismiss the college’s lawsuit against the Obama administration’s abortion pill mandate.

The lawsuit challenges the unconstitutional mandate, which requires religious employers to provide insurance coverage for abortion pills at no cost to employees regardless of religious or moral objections.

“Every American should be free to live and do business according to their faith,” said Senior Counsel Kevin Theriot. “The government shouldn’t punish people of faith for following their beliefs when making decisions for themselves or their organizations. That’s why this lawsuit should not be casually dismissed as the Obama administration would like to see happen.”

“This mandate leaves religious employers with no true choice: either comply and abandon your religious freedom and conscience, or resist and be punished,” said allied attorney and co-counsel Mike Johnson, dean of Louisiana College’s Pressler School of Law. “It is a shame that the Obama administration is opposing religious freedom rather than supporting it.”

The college’s response, filed with the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana in Louisiana College v. Sebelius, pokes holes in the Obama administration’s contention that the lawsuit should be dismissed. The administration points to a notice it issued in March about a proposed rulemaking process that would require insurers rather than employers to provide abortion pill coverage.

“But the [notice] does not make that proposal or explain how it will work,” the response brief states. “Louisiana College affirms that even if its insurer provided the abortifacient coverage, this would still violate the College’s religious beliefs by forcing it to provide employees an objectionable plan. The [notice] therefore is not a concrete proposed rule that ‘if made final, would significantly amend’ the Mandate.”

“Under the government’s position, no case can challenge the constitutionality of a statute or regulation if it may be changed in the future. That can be said of any law,” the brief continues. “If the government is still trying to figure out what the Mandate should require, it should withdraw it. Government shouldn’t be able to require compliance with a Mandate that it says is unfinished.”
  • Pronunciation guide: Theriot (TAIR’-ee-oh)
Alliance Defending Freedom (formerly Alliance Defense Fund) is an alliance-building legal ministry that advocates for the right of people to freely live out their faith.
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