.- Attorneys general from a dozen states say they intend to sue over the Obama administration's contraception mandate that requires many religious employers to violate the teachings of their faith.
In a Feb. 10 letter, the attorneys general voiced their âstrong oppositionâ to the mandate, which they called âan impermissible violation of the Constitution's First Amendment virtually unparalleled in American history.â
They said that if the mandate is implemented, they are prepared to âvigorously oppose it in court.â
The letter was sent to the Department of Health and Human Services secretary Kathleen Sebilius, Treasury secretary Timothy Geithner and Labor secretary Hilda Solis.
It was signed by Nebraska attorney general Jon Bruning, who was joined by the attorneys general of Texas, South Carolina, Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Maine, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota and Colorado.
Bruning and his fellow attorneys general said that they are âdeeply troubledâ by the mandateâs âunprecedented coercion of organizations and individuals to act contrary to their religious beliefs.â
They decried the mandate for forcing religious employers to choose between effectively promoting âa message in contravention with their religious principlesâ and ceasing âactivities of incalculable valueâ to society.
The Obama administration has come under fire for the recently-announced mandate, which will require virtually all employers to purchase health insurance plans that cover contraception, sterilization and drugs that induce abortions at no cost to employees.
Faced with a storm of protest, the administration announced an âaccommodationâ for religious freedom on Feb. 10. Rather than directly purchasing the coverage they object to, religious employers under the new policy would be forced to buy health care plans from insurance companies that would be required to offer these products free of charge.
Many critics have been quick to suggest that insurance companies will factor the âfreeâ contraceptives into the pricing of health care plans, and so employers will ultimately be billed for the coverage, thus forcing them to violate their consciences.
Bruning has said that he is not satisfied with the âaccommodation,â which he described as a false compromise that âstill tramples on religious freedom.â
He and the other attorneys general urged the Obama administration to reconsider its decision, which they said is not only a âbad policyâ but also âunconstitutional.â