Right to Life of Michigan has filed a federal lawsuit over the Affordable Care Act’s contraception mandate, adding to a pile of recent court cases challenging whether corporations can refuse to provide employees contraception coverage in employer-sponsored health insurance plans on moral grounds.
The complaint, filed Monday by attorney Michael Rizik Jr. in the U.S. District Court of Grand Rapids, alleges that the contraception mandate violates Right to Life’s First Amendment religious and speech freedoms.
Right to Life considers emergency contraception like Plan B and ella to be “abortifacients.” Since Right to Life’s mission is to advocate against abortion, the complaint alleges, paying for insurance that covers emergency contraception would violate “deeply held religious beliefs” and Right to Life’s “sole reason for existence as an organization.”
Emergency contraception does not cause abortions, but what matters legally is Right to Life members’ sincerely held belief that it does.
Right to Life Michigan is a nonprofit, non-sectarian corporation. Most of its board members and employees are Catholic or evangelical Christian, but since it is not a religiously affiliated employer, its complaint is similar to those of other secular corporations seeking an exemption from the mandate.
The U.S. Supreme Court is deciding whether to hear three such cases, including another Michigan suit brought by the Autocam Corp., in which the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against Autocam.
At issue is whether corporations have religious freedoms, and whether the religious freedoms of corporate executives trump those of their employees on health-care issues.
Right to Life Michigan is also behind an initiative to ban private insurance companies in Michigan from covering abortion, which, despite being unpopular, could still pass with a simple legislative majority if enough signatures are collected.
CORRECTION: A version of this article incorrectly noted that the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals turned down the Autocam case. In fact, it ruled against Autocam Corp. in that case.