Colorado

Dec 11, 2013 10:32 PM by Tony Spehar - tspehar@koaa.com

Dobson files lawsuit challenging Affordable Care Act contraception rule

Doctor James Dobson, broadcaster and founder of Focus on the Family, has filed a lawsuit challenging a mandate in the Affordable Care Act that would require his company Family Talk to provide health coverage that would offer birth control such as the morning after pill.

In a 51-page complaint filed on Tuesday Dobson and his attorney's from the group Alliance Defending Freedom argued that being required to offer insurance including contraceptives to 60 employees and dependants is a violation of their religious beliefs which are opposed to abortion. If Family Talk, a Colorado Springs based business that offers religiously based radio broadcasts and other material, would decline to offer their employees the insurance they would face thousands of dollars in fines.

"The government shouldn't be able to punish Americans for exercising fundamental freedoms," stated Matthew Bowman, an attorney for Alliance Defending Freedom. "Any government willing to force a family-run, Christian ministry to participate in immoral acts under the threat of crippling fines is a government everyone should fear."

Churches are exempt from the mandate, but Dobson's Family Talk doesn't fit the exemption requirements which his attorney's stated are "extraordinarily narrow." Arguments in the suit state that Family Talk should be considered an exempt religious organization because it is faith based, spreads a religious and pro-life message and all employees are said to be anti-abortion.

Leaders with Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains said they agree that churches should be exempt, but birth control is a basic preventative health care option that all employees of other organizations deserve to have access to.

"We don't think that bosses and politicians should be making medical decisions for women," explained Cathy Alderman, Vice President of Public Affairs for Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains. "They should have the ability to make their own decisions about when and how to plan and expand their families."

The federal government has yet to officially respond to Dobson's lawsuit. Dobson plans to address the lawsuit in a series of broadcasts on December 16 and 17.

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