In preparation for oral arguments in March, Alliance Defending Freedom has submitted its opening brief in the case Conestoga Wood Specialties v. Sebelius. Conestoga Wood Specialties is a business owned by the Hahn family (“the Petitioners”), a Mennonite Christian family who believe that paying for abortion-inducing drugs would be a violation of their religious convictions. They chose to file a lawsuit when Obama’s HHS Mandate required them to provide insurance covering abortion-inducing drugs to their employees.
The Mandate substantially burdens Petitioners’ religious exercise. It directly commands Petitioners to buy a healthcare policy that funds abortifacients in conflict with their religious beliefs regarding the destruction of human life. It also imposes ruinous fines and authorizes lawsuits if Petitioners fail to surrender and comply.
The brief explains that for-profit corporations should also have a right to exercise the religious beliefs of the business owners:
When the government uses substantial pressure to coerce a family business to act contrary to its owners’ religious beliefs, it burdens the free exercise of religion regardless of the business’ corporate form.
According to Attorney Randall Wegner, co-counsel on the case from Independence Law Center:
If the government can force Americans to violate their deepest, most heartfelt convictions, there’s no stopping what government can do. If freedom of conscience isn’t preserved, then all of our freedoms are in jeopardy.
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