(Washington, DC) - The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), along with nearly 70,000 Americans, is calling on Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to change the mandate and "accommodation" on contraceptives to protect freedom of religion and the conscience rights of Americans. The ACLJ legal analysis, posted here, comes as nearly 70,000 Americans have signed on to an ACLJ petition urging Secretary Sebelius to reverse the troubling regulations.
"These regulations clearly violate religious liberty and the conscience rights of millions of Americans," said Jay Sekulow, Chief Counsel of the ACLJ. "The fact is the mandate and the compromise are not about health care. They represent a dangerous power play by the federal government. It's the ultimate in government intrusion, representing a significant threat to religious organizations. Our legal analysis is clear: this is not only bad policy, it is unconstitutional as well. We're calling on Secretary Sebelius to immediately revise the regulations to conform with the constitutional protections afforded to all Americans."
The ACLJ's 9-page legal analysis explains in detail why the mandate violates the First Amendment's Free Exercise Clause as well as the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). The ACLJ letter also notes that the "accommodation" is "a smoke and mirrors game" that does nothing to remove the burden on religious exercise imposed by the contraception mandate.
The ACLJ urges Secretary Sebelius to take immediate corrective action:
"Whether mandating that religious employers or individuals violate their conscience by directly paying for contraceptives, or by contributing to a health insurance plan that is mandated to provide contraceptives, the comprehensive guidelines violate the First Amendment, and RFRA. The HHS should revise the comprehensive guidelines and remove the requirement that all insurance companies make contraceptives an obligatory part of every insurance package."
The HHS mandate requires religious institutions, such as religious schools and hospitals, to include abortion-inducing drugs, sterilization, and contraception in their insurance policies for employees. A so-called "accommodation" was then issued after a tremendous public outcry occurred opposing the mandate.
The ACLJ has heard from nearly 70,000 Americans who do not want to be forced to choose between obeying the law and violating their faith.
Led by Chief Counsel Jay Sekulow, the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), focusing on constitutional law, is based in Washington, D.C.