Must have misssed this in the ole inbox, but Florida's attorney general, Pam Bondi, is ready to join 12 other colleagues to sue President Obama's administration over its contraception mandate-- this after challenging all of the Affordable Care Act. Here's a text of a letter Bondi and others, dated Feb. 10, to Kathleen Sebelius (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services), Timothy Geithner (Secretary U.S. Department of the Treasury) and Hilda Solis (Secretary U.S. Department of Labor):
Dear Secretaries Sebelius, Geithner, and Solis:
As Attorneys General of our respective states, we are writing to express our strong opposition to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ mandate requiring religious employers that provide health insurance coverage to their employees to include coverage for contraceptives, sterilization, and related services. Should this unconstitutional mandate be promulgated, we are prepared to vigorously oppose it in court.
The proposed regulations would compel religious affiliated organizations, hospitals, universities, and social service entities to subsidize contraceptive products and services which clearly violate their religious beliefs. We are deeply troubled by the unprecedented coercion of organizations and individuals to act contrary to their religious beliefs. The only viable alternative for these employers is to penalize their employees by ceasing the provision of health insurance altogether. The choice for such organizations essentially becomes: provide and subsidize activity in contravention with core religious beliefs, eliminate employer-provided health coverage, or withdraw from public ministry.
Not only is the proposed contraceptive coverage mandate for religious employers bad policy, it is unconstitutional. It conflicts with the most basic elements of the freedoms of religion, speech, and association, as provided under the First Amendment. It would compel religious organizations to act, subsidize products, and affirmatively promote a message in contravention with their religious principles, with the sole alternative being to cease activities of incalculable value to their employees, constituents, and, indeed, society as a whole.
We strongly oppose the unconstitutional approach taken by the proposed contraceptive coverage mandate. We believe it represents an impermissible violation of the Constitution’s First Amendment virtually unparalleled in American history.
Accordingly, we urge you in the strongest way possible to refrain from promulgating the proposed regulations.
Jon Bruning, Attorney General of Nebraska
Greg Abbott, Attorney General of Texas
Alan Wilson, Attorney General of South Carolina
Luther Strange, Attorney General of Alabama
Pam Bondi, Attorney General of Florida
James Caldwell, Attorney General of Louisiana
William Schneide, Attorney General of Maine
Wayne Stenehjem, Attorney General of North Dakota
Mike DeWine, Attorney General of Ohio
Scott Pruitt, Attorney General of Oklahoma
Marty J. Jackley, Attorney General of South Dakota
John W. Suthers, Attorney General of Colorado