By Lacey McNiel, First Liberty media relations
WASHINGTON, DC—After three years of litigation, First Liberty Institute clients Insight for Living Ministries (IFLM) and several ministries of the Christian and Missionary Alliance denomination (CMA) today received final relief from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) in their fight for an exemption from the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) contraceptive mandate. The mandate forced ministries and other nonprofit organizations into the unnavigable position of adhering to their religious beliefs and obeying the law.
The action Oct. 31 by the DOJ comes less than a month after the Trump administration announced a new interim final rule that rolls back the Obama-era, so-called “contraceptive mandate.”
The settlement provides similar exemptions and prevents future administrations from targeting the religious conscience of these ministries in the future.
“Our clients can now get back to serving others instead of defending themselves against the government’s attacks on their faith,” said Jeremy Dys, Deputy General Counsel for First Liberty Institute. “The Trump administration is right to let this be a decision between these ministries and the God they serve, rather than impose the government’s beliefs on these ministries.”
In July, First Liberty attorneys, led by lead counsel Matthew Kacsmaryk, sent a letter on behalf of their clients to Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney and held inperson, on-the-record meetings with agency officials tasked with reviewing the rules related to the ACA. But, ultimately, it was the Trump Administration that brought to a swift conclusion to a mandate that posed such a threat to the conscience of millions of Americans.
“The last three years of litigation could have been avoided entirely if the Obama administration had simply recognized that the First Amendment protects the rights conscience of these religious ministries against an administration intent on coercing their obedience,” Dys said.
“We are grateful that the Trump administration has agreed to end this unnecessary and harmful assault on religious liberty.”