Federal and State Civil Rights Violations Cited in New Lawsuit Filed by Thomas More Society and the Jubilee Campaign's Law of Life Project in Federal District Court in Chicago for Private Employer
CHICAGO, Aug. 23, 2012 /Christian Newswire/ -- Triune Health Group, recently named by Crain's Chicago Business as the Best Place to Work for Women in the Chicago metro area, filed suit yesterday in U.S. District Court against the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services ("HHS"), the U.S. Department of the Treasury, the U.S. Department of Labor, and the Illinois Department of Insurance for a "declaratory judgment" and injunction to prevent and stop an infringement of their civil rights. Christopher Yep, founder, president and CEO of the family-run business, along with Mary Anne Yep, co-founder, Vice President and Chief Personnel Officer, and the company as a whole, are suing the federal and state governments for violating their fundamental rights to religious liberty and free speech by requiring them to provide group insurance coverage of abortions, sterilization, and birth control for their employees.
The Yeps, devoted Catholics, embrace a belief which is embedded in Triune's mission statement that each individual be "treated with the human dignity and respect that God intended." The Obamacare mandate, administered by HHS and the other federal agencies named in the lawsuit, as well as the Illinois insurance mandate, administered by Illinois' Department of Insurance, require the company to provide abortion-related and contraceptive coverage for its employees and their families, which imposes a gravely oppressive burden on the Yeps' deeply held religious beliefs.
"The federal and state governments are coercing our clients to violate their conscientious convictions, which is completely at odds with the resounding declarations of our Founding Fathers and our modern Supreme Court jurisprudence," said Tom Brejcha, president and chief counsel of the Chicago-based Thomas More Society, the national public interest law firm representing Triune and the Yeps, together with the Jubilee Campaign's Law of Life Project. "As a federal court ruled just last month in Colorado, no government official may impose such an insupportable burden on American citizens' deeply held religious beliefs without a compelling reason. But there is no compelling reason here, when so many other options are available for providing these services, which are fully compatible with Triune's corporate mission statement and the Yeps' religious beliefs," said Brejcha.
Sam Casey, managing director and general counsel for the Jubilee Campaign's Law of Life Project, also had high praise for the Yeps' courage in standing up for their fundamental rights, applauding the Yeps for "taking a stand to defend their right to run their business in a way that does not conflict with their faith and religious conscience."
The Obama Administration has defended forcing private employers to provide insurance coverage for abortion-inducing drugs, sterilization, and contraception, with an argument that people of faith forfeit their religious liberties once they opt to engage in business. But last month, Colorado-based Hercules Industries and the Catholic family that owns and runs it won a federal injunction to suspend the Obama Administration's mandate against that company. The newly filed Triune case also asserts the primacy of religious liberties and free speech on behalf of a private company and its owners, who view business as a form of religious stewardship and an integral part of their lives as faithful Roman Catholics.
Triune Health Group has won public plaudits, not only as "the best" employer for women but also as an outstanding employer for everybody, having also placed very high on Crain's 2012 "Best Place to Work" list.
The new lawsuit by Triune and the Yeps also names as defendants the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, U.S. Department of the Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, U.S. Department of Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, and Illinois Department of Insurance Director Andrew Boron.
A copy of the court filing is available here or available upon request.
About the Thomas More Society
Founded in 1997, the Chicago-based Thomas More Society is a national public interest law firm that seeks to restore respect in law for life, marriage, and religious liberty. The Society is a nonprofit organization wholly supported by private donations. For more information or to support the work of Thomas More Society, please visit www.thomasmoresociety.org.
About the Jubilee Campaign's Law of Life Project
The Law of Life Project is a public interest legal organization dedicated to legally defending the right to life and dignity of the human being from biological conception until natural death in all matters worldwide where such a defense is required. Jubilee Campaign is an international charitable organization that seeks to be a "voice for the voiceless" promoting the human rights of all, particularly women and children in countries which imprison, terrorize or otherwise oppress them. www.lawoflifeproject.org