"Family Talk," a Christian radio ministry, and its president James Dobson are suing the federal government for subjecting them to the Affordable Care Act's, or "Obamacare's," "abortion mandate," despite the nonprofit's religious and moral objections to the mandate.
The lawsuit, filed Tuesday in the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado by Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys, claims the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' birth control mandate violates the First Amendment as well as the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. The suit says forcing Family Talk to offer coverage for abortion-inducing drugs, such as Plan B or Ella, or devices that could result in the destruction of an embryo would also force the nonprofit and its president to violate their religious convictions.
"The government shouldn't be able to punish Americans for exercising their fundamental freedoms," said ADF Senior Legal Counsel Matt Bowman in a press release. "Any government willing to force a family-run Christian ministry to participate in immoral acts under the threat of crippling fines is a government everyone should fear."
The mandate exempts churches from offering abortion pill coverage, the lawsuit states, but other faith-based nonprofit organizations who also object to the mandate on religious grounds are not afforded the same exemptions.
Family Talk not only takes a pro-life stance, but for the last three years has spent an entire week in January discussing pro-life issues on the organization's daily radio program.
"Our ministry believes in living out the religious convictions we hold to and talk about on the air," Dobson said in a press release. "As Americans, we should all be free to live according to our faith and to honor God in our work. The Constitution protects that freedom so that the government cannot force anyone to act against his or her sincerely held religious beliefs. But the mandate ignores that and leaves us with a choice no American should have to make: comply and abandon your religious freedom, or resist and be fined for your faith."
If Family Talk refused to offer coverage on abortion-inducing contraceptives, the lawsuit states, it could be penalized with "enormous fines that will cripple their operations." The organization could be penalized up to $100 per employee per day of noncompliance.
Approximately 23 Family Talk employees are currently enrolled in the organization's health insurance plans, the suit states, and approximately 37 dependents of employees are also covered.
Dobson founded Family Talk, an organization based in Colorado Springs, Colo., in 2010. Prior to that he ministered for 33 years with Focus on the Family, which he founded in 1977.
ADF is representing a number of other nonprofits, businesses and Christian universities in lawsuits against the contraception mandate, including Biola University, Tyndale House Publishers and the Fellowship of Catholic University Students.