Judge strikes down suit challenging Obamacare on abortion mandate
LYNCHBURG, Virginia, December 1, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) - A U.S. District Court judge has struck down a lawsuit against the new health care reform law brought by a Virginia university, which challenged the bill’s abortion funding, in addition to its insurance mandate.
Liberty University argued that forcing the school to cover abortion would violate its religious values, and said that the health care legislation overreached the federal government’s constitutional limits by forcing U.S. citizens to purchase health insurance or face a fine.
Echoing the defense already advanced by Department of Justice lawyers against the states’ suit, District Judge Norman Moon threw out the case, saying that the insurance mandate is allowable under the commerce clause of the US Constitution.
Moon rejected the abortion argument because, he said, the plaintiffs did not explain adequately how the legislation would require taxpayers to fund abortion. The university has said it will appeal the decision.
Liberty University’s complaint is different from another one joined by several U.S. states, and another on behalf of the Commonwealth of Virginia.
The bill’s true impact on taxpayer-funded abortion has been at the center of a bitter war since its passage earlier this year. One of the more extreme battles erupted in the run-up to the mid-term elections last month when Rep. Steve Driehaus (D-OH) dragged the Susan B. Anthony List to court after the pro-life group asserted that Driehaus, by supporting the health reform, had voted for taxpayer-funded abortion.
The nation’s top pro-life groups and several disinterested analysts have asserted that a slew of new authorizations in the bill open the door for taxpayer funded abortion.
According to NRLC, the bill’s lack of a strict abortion-funding ban renders countless new programs open to interpretation by courts as including abortion as a form of preventive care, a precedent already established in federal courts. Because the courts favor recognizing elective abortion as legitimate health care, says the pro-life group, taxpayer dollars are poised to fund the procedure in the upcoming federal insurance plans.
Pro-life experts note that Obama’s Executive Order purporting to apply the Hyde amendment to the bill does not carry the weight of law in the courts.
Moon’s ruling is the second in two months to uphold the health care reform law. Like the judge in the earlier case, Judge George C. Steeh of Federal District Court in Detroit, Moon was appointed to the court by President Clinton.
Several more court cases against the law await judgment.