- (Photo: REUTERS/Brendan Smialowski/Pool)
The American Center for Law & Justice has warned that people will not be "fooled" by the President Barack Obama-backed HHS mandate, which forces religious employers to offer insurance coverage that includes birth control to employees.
"The fight against the HHS abortion pill mandate is intensifying," ACLJ Chief Counsel Jay Sekulow says in a letter. His organization has filed two new "friend-of-the-court" briefs against the HHS mandate, arguing that the plaintiffs are being denied injunctive relief from compliance with the mandate.
Earlier this month, the White House administration came up with a "compromise" that sought to alleviate some of the religious lawsuits filed against the Obamacare provision, promising further exemptions for religious employers.
A number of conservative organizations, such as the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops which has been on the forefront of leading objections against the mandate, have said that the proposed compromise does not address real religious concerns.
"It appears that the government would require all employees in our 'accommodated' ministries to have the illicit coverage – they may not opt out, nor even opt out for their children – under a separate policy," Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York commented about some of the problems the bishops found with the proposal.
Sekulow added that the mandate still forces people of faith to pay for abortion pills, and the accommodations do nothing to protect the religious liberty of Americans.
"We will not be fooled. President Obama is using the unlimited resources of his Justice Department to entrench his pro-abortion agenda deep within our health care system," the organization added.
One of the briefs the ACLJ filed in the Sixth Circuit appeal concerned Autocam Corporation and Autocam Medical, two manufacturing companies with more than 600 full-time employees that have cited religious objections to the mandate and refused to pay coverage for contraceptive methods. The other brief involves chains Hobby Lobby Stores and Mardel, an arts and crafts store and bookstore, respectively.
"If the plaintiffs in these two cases do not comply with the mandate, they face significant penalties," the ACLJ explain in a statement. "The Autocam plaintiffs would incur about $19 million per year in penalties, and the Hobby Lobby plaintiffs would incur almost $500 million per year in penalties for non-compliance."
Currently over 70,000 people have signed a petition for the briefs, which the ACLJ says is in support of the First Amendment right of freedom of religion.