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Liberty Institute Sends Letter to HHS to Clarify Family Research Council's Requirements Under the HHS Mandate
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Family Research Council (FRC) announced today that the Liberty Institute has submitted a letter to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on behalf of FRC, asking for clarification of whether FRC will be forced to cover sterilizations, abortifacients and contraceptives in its employee health care plans. If FRC does not hear from HHS by November 5, FRC will consider legal action challenging the enforcement of the HHS employer mandate.
J. Michael Johnson, senior counsel at the Liberty Institute, notes in the letter that "FRC believes that it should qualify as an exempt religious employer, but under the strict definition provided in the amended interim final regulations issued and made effective in August 2011, it may not. Because the precise application and final scope of the religious employer exemption remains ambiguous, we are hereby requesting a formal determination by the Department of Health and Human Services on whether or not FRC will be made to comply with the mandate. If you determine the religious exemption does apply to FRC, a legal challenge may be avoided."
Johnson and Liberty Institute already serve as counsel on pending federal court litigation challenging Obamacare on behalf of other religious institutions. "If FRC is forced to comply with this unconscionable mandate, we will be happy to file an immediate challenge on its behalf," said Johnson.
Of the letter FRC President Tony Perkins made the following comments:
"It is unbelievable that there is even a need to submit such a letter, since FRC and many religious organizations like it around the country should be recognized as such by the Obama administration. Religious bookstores, universities, and many other Christian-owned businesses have already been targeted, and many are fighting back in court against this unconstitutional attack on religious liberty. If HHS responds to this letter by insisting we comply with this unconstitutional mandate, then we will pursue other options to defend our religious liberty.
"Family Research Council will not comply with a mandate that forces us to violate the statement of faith that every employee agrees to. We are committed to repealing and replacing President Obama's unjust health care law, which uses taxpayer dollars for abortion, further burdens American families, raises taxes and restricts religious liberty," concluded Perkins.