RESTON, VA – Today the Media Research Center (MRC) announced that it has filed a motion in US District Court for a preliminary injunction seeking to block enforcement of the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) Health and Human Services (HHS) mandate, which forces people of faith to subsidize health insurance plans that include abortion inducing drugs, contraception, and sterilization. A hearing has been set for June 6.
“This lawsuit is about religious freedom and the conscience rights of individuals to operate their enterprises free from government coercion, reprisal, or punishment,” MRC Founder and President Brent Bozell said. “The Obamacare mandate destroys the ability of free people to practice their faith in their everyday lives and forces them to either reject their faith or face crippling government imposed fines and punishment; in our case over $4.5 million dollars per year. We do not stop being religious, moral people the moment we walk out of our houses of worship.”
The MRC contends that under ACA rules it has self-certified as a religious organization and is therefore exempt from the mandate. The MRC is the first organization that has asked the court to affirm its "self-certification.”
For nearly three decades, the MRC has been the nation’s premier defender of pro-life views and Judeo-Christian values from attacks by the liberal media. Bozell and other employees of the MRC practice and live by Judeo-Christian values, and believe abortion, whether through the actions of an abortionist or a drug, is the taking of innocent human life. Under the First Amendment, the MRC and its employees have the right to practice and abide by their faith in their everyday lives including in the operations of their mission-oriented non-profit organization.
The ACA explicitly allows exemptions for non-profits that self-certify that they “hold themselves out as religious organizations.” The law, however, is vague, so the MRC is asking the court declare that the MRC qualifies.
Should the court disagree and hold that the MRC is not an “eligible organization,” then MRC believes that the ACA violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment of the Constitution as the “eligible organization” determination would require the government to determine who is “religious enough” to qualify for an exemption. Determining who is “religious enough” is an unconstitutional entanglement in questions of religious doctrine and organization.
The case, Media Research Center v. Sebelius, et al, Case No. 1:14-cv-379 (GBL/IDD) was filed on April 11 by the national law firm of LeClairRyan, assisted by Fairfax, VA-based Cook, Craig & Francuzenko, PLLC.