Updated at 4:12 p.m. EST to include comments from Barth Bracy.
PROVIDENCE, RI, May 5, 2014 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The executive director of Rhode Island Right to Life has filed a groundbreaking lawsuit against the Obama administration, because his state does not offer a single health care plan that would not compel him to pay for abortion-on-demand.
Barth Bracy, executive director of the Rhode Island State Right to Life Committee, filed the lawsuit against retiring Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius with the help of the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF).
Like millions of other Americans, Bracy was notified by his insurance provider that it was canceling his family's insurance plan, and he needs to obtain new health insurance coverage for his wife and four children by December 1. The company directed him to consult the state of Connecticut's ObamaCare state exchange, Access Health CT.
Bracy told LifeSiteNews.com he found that his family “could get a comparable plan for only $2.63 per month after federal subsidies. The problem is that the law requires that we pay a separate premium — out of our own private funds rather than from any government subsidy or advance premium tax credit — to be used exclusively to pay for other peoples' abortions.”
The ObamaCare exchange told him, in effect, “The only thing you have to do it is give us a buck or two a month to pay for other people's abortions,” he said. “We just can't do that.”
“Obviously, we can not in conscience purchase that plan or any of the other plans on Access CT, since all of them cover elective abortion and, therefore, all require the abortion fee,” he told LifeSiteNews.com.
The lawsuit says that that forcing Bracy to pay for abortion would force him to violate his Catholic religious beliefs on the sanctity of life.
“The Bracys are devout Catholics,” his legal complaint for Bracy v. Sebelius, filed by local ADF-affiliated attorney Michael DePrimo, says. “Barth Bracy is an ordained deacon and a former missionary. The Bracys are deeply pro-life and object to being forced to pay for procedures that kill innocent human beings.”
While the Obama administration routinely argues that the First Amendment simply guarantees the “freedom of worship,” ADF Senior Counsel Matt Bowman says the Constitution's “freedom of religion” clause gives Americans the right to live their lives according to the dictates of their conscience, free of government interference.
“In America, we don’t separate what people do from what they believe, “ Bowman said, “and that’s why ObamaCare’s attack on the freedoms of Americans must stop.”
“No one should be forced to pay for other people’s abortions,” he said.
“With ObamaCare, if you like your current plan, you can’t always keep it, and you may have to pay for other people’s abortions,” Casey Mattox, another senior counsel at ADF said. “Neither the Constitution nor federal and state law allow for this type of government coercion.”
“The Obama administration may not place a very high value on respecting a person’s constitutionally protected freedoms, but both federal and state law do,” Mattox said. “We are asking the court to stop the individual mandate from violating the rights of this family.”
The legal challenge is distinct from lawsuits against the HHS mandate, which numerous employers have challenged in court, often successfully. That requires all insurance plans to offer contraception, sterilization, and abortifacient drugs to all female employees without a co-pay.
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The Bracys' challenge may be the first of many more, since their state is only one of several states identified by Congressman Chris Smith, R-NJ, that gives pro-life citizens two options: Violate your religious views by paying for insurance plans that cover abortion, or go without medical insurance.
The abortion mandate isn't the only downside of the health reform law for health insurance in the state, Bracy said. The Bracy family's insurance premiums jumped from $70 a month to $494 after the enactment of the Affordable Care Act's reforms, although they are reduced after applying an ObamaCare subsidy.
Bracy told LifeSiteNews.com that the closest comparable, ObamaCare-compliant insurance plan available without he subsidy would cost $900 a month.