James Dobson, 'Family Talk' Get Birth Control Mandate Reprieve
A federal court has blocked enforcement of the Obama administration's abortion pill mandate against Dr. James Dobson and his "Family Talk" radio show in a case that challenges the legality of the requirement that religious employers provide contraceptives to employees.
"In America, we don't try to separate what people do from what they believe," Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel Kevin Theriot said Friday regarding the injunction issued by a federal judge in Colorado in Dobson v. Sebelius.
The injunction "shall remain in effect until modified or rescinded by order of the court," the order stated Thursday.
"Faith-based organizations should be free to operate according to the faith they teach and live out every day," added Theriot in a statement. "If the government can fine Christian ministries out of existence because they want to uphold their faith, there is no limit to what other freedoms it can take away. The court was right to block enforcement of this unconstitutional mandate against Family Talk."
Dobson is the founder and president of Family Talk, Christian radio ministry. The lawsuit says the ministry has 28 full-time employees.
"Family Talk and Dr. Dobson state credibly and cogently that providing the coverage required by the Mandate would violate their religious beliefs and execution and delivery of the Exemption Form, the EBSA Form 700 - Certification, which effectively exempts Family Talk from the Mandate, also would violate their sincerely held religious beliefs," the judge said in the order.
The order stated that "there is a substantial likelihood that" Dobson and his ministry can show that the mandate constitutes "a substantial burden on the exercise of their religion." "Contrastingly, the government has not shown that this substantial burden is reasonably necessary to further a compelling governmental interest."
The lawsuit was filed in December by Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys, and it claims that the Department of Health and Human Services' mandate violates the First Amendment as well as the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, as it forces Dobson and his Christian ministry to offer coverage for abortion-inducing drugs, such as Plan B or Ella, or devices that could result in the destruction of an embryo in violation of their religious convictions.
"Our ministry believes in living out the religious convictions we hold to and talk about on the air," Dobson said in a statement at the time. "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."
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.