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Right to Life Michigan Files Lawsuit in Protest of Obamacare

file photo
file photo

The Affordable Care Act, most commonly known as “Obamacare,” is a controversial topic in politics and also for many people of faith. Right to Life Michigan recently filed a federal lawsuit against the Affordable Care Act. The lawsuit targets specific legislators in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Right to Life is a national organization whose mission is “to protect and defend the most fundamental right of humankind, the right to life of every innocent human being from the beginning of life to natural death.” Right to Life Michigan is the branch of Right to Life located in Michigan.

The Affordable Care Act mandates birth control coverage; Right to Life Michigan takes issue with the required coverage of all forms of birth control.

Ed Rivet, legislative director for Right to Life Michigan, explained why the lawsuit was filed and what parts of the Affordable Care Act he believes are unconstitutional.

“It’s not that the law is unconstitutional, per se, but that implementation of the law violates our constitutional rights,” Rivet said. “There is nothing in the law that says abortion and birth control should be covered, but it is how the law is being implemented. The law could have passed and they could have decided not to require coverage of all forms of birth control, but they are.”

Right to Life Michigan opposes all forms of birth control whose use could result in an abortion, including “Ella,” a birth control pill that can cause abortions, and the intrauterine device (IUD). Rivet did not state Right to Life’s position on the morning after pill, saying, “the jury is still out on that one.”

The lawsuit claims that Right to Life Michigan’s freedom of religion and freedom of speech is being violated by the Affordable Care Act, in forcing the organization to provide coverage for all forms of birth control, even though they do not believe in specific types.

Rivet says that Right to Life Michigan is in a unique position because they are neither a religious company, nor a business.

“This is a unique issue for us because we are not a business, and we are not affiliated with the church, but we are an organization focused on protecting human life,” Rivet said. “Our issue with [the Affordable Care Act] has a narrow focus, in that we only oppose specific kinds of birth control. We are also in a unique position in that the law forces us to violate our organization’s mission.”

Right to Life Michigan joins many businesses and organizations with lawsuits filed against the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Rivet also mentioned Right to Life Michigan’s reason for the lawsuit, saying that he does not believe it was the federal government’s right to require coverage of all birth control.

“This was an extreme overreach for the federal government to say that we have to provide this coverage,” Rivet said, “especially when this coverage conflicts with our mission. We are not given the discretion to decide. It’s offensive to people whether it is their religious beliefs, their morals, or their organizational mission. In this case, the Obama administration has gone too far.”

In addition to the lawsuit filed on Nov. 4, Right to Life Michigan began a petition in June 2013 supporting the “Abortion Insurance Opt-Out Act.” The organization needed to collect 258,088 signatures in 180 days. Right to Life Michigan submitted the petition with 315,000 signatures, two months before the deadline. This petition would allow Michigan to join 23 other states that have opted out of abortion coverage, as long as the majority of Michigan’s Senate and House uphold the Act.

Rivet said that the petition dealt specifically with abortion coverage through the Affordable Care Act, and the lawsuit deals with contraception coverage through the act.

“The petition and the lawsuit deal with two entirely different issues, both involving [the Affordable Care Act],” Rivet said. “The petition is about abortion being covered by health care. According to the Affordable Care Act, it is the ability of the state to opt-out of abortion coverage.”

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