American legal precedent has established that before the government can require a citizen to violate his or her conscience, it must be a “compelling issue” of national interest, and it cannot put a “substantial burden” — directly or indirectly — on the person to obey. The American Center for Law and Justice and the other public interest law firms handling HHS cases contend that none of these apply.
“The history of this country has been that even during war, when we need bodies in our army to protect us, we give respect to religious views,” says Ed White, Lead Counsel for the ACLJ’s suit on behalf of two Sidney, OH, produce companies against he US Department of Health and Human Services.
In arguments defending the government for the more than 40 cases pending against the HHS, White says, lawyers have generally argued that the compelling interest is “gender and healthcare equality” — in other words that women need to be provided with birth control devices and drugs, voluntary sterilization, and “morning after” pills at no cost to themselves in order to be equal to men. . . .
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