Florida joins multi-state lawsuit against birth control mandate

Feb 23, 2012

The following article was published in the Florida Independent on February 23, 2012:

Florida joins multi-state lawsuit against birth control mandate

By Ashley Lopez

Florida has joined yet another lawsuit against the federal government’s Affordable Care Act. This latest action challenges a provision in the law that requires health insurers — except for religious employers — to cover contraception as a preventive service.

The Miami Herald reports:

Joining forces with six other states, Florida is suing the President Barack Obama’s mandate that health insurance policies include coverage for contraceptives, sterilizations and related services. The requirement has been strongly opposed by the Catholic Church and conservative organizations.

The state of Nebraska is taking the lead on the suit, filed in federal court today. Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi released a statement vowing to fight the rule, saying it violates citizens’ First Amendment rights.

“Government has no business forcing religious institutions and individuals to violate their sincerely held beliefs,” Bondi said. “This lawsuit is about protecting religious liberty and the rights of conscience, our most basic freedoms as Americans.”

The Obama administration has received a considerable amount of guff from religious leaders and conservative politicians for the mandate, which will allow women to recieve contraception services without having to pony up for steep co-payments. However, there is considerable public support for the mandate. Most women, including religious women, rely on contraception services for preventing pregnancies, as well as other medical benefits.

Those opposed to the law claim it infringes on their religious beliefs, by requiring religious groups that provide health insurance to cover a service they are opposed to.

Florida has already challenged the Affordable Care Act and is currently the leader in a challenge to the law. The U.S. Supreme Court will begin hearing the challenge in March of this year.

Find this article here: http://floridaindependent.com/70653/pam-bondi-birth-control-mandate