‘No church should be coerced to pay for abortions, least of all a church that dedicates its ministry to protecting and celebrating life…’
The Alliance Defending Freedom, which represents the church in Cedar Park Assembly of God of Kirkland v. Kreidler, said the Washington state law infringes upon the Constitution’s Free Exercise of Religion Clause.
“No church should be coerced to pay for abortions, least of all a church that dedicates its ministry to protecting and celebrating life,” said ADF Legal Counsel Elissa Graves. “Cedar Park believes and teaches that every human life begins at conception and is worthy of protection at every point until natural death.”
The lawsuit will challenge Senate Bill 6219, which the legislature passed in March 2018, ADF said in a press release.
The law mandates that employers who provide maternity coverage through group health insurance also provide coverage for elective abortions.
If the church does not give its employees abortion coverage, its leaders could face fines or prison sentences.
“Cedar Park demonstrates its pro-life ethic in tangible ways: partnership with a local pregnancy care center, hosting an annual camp for children in foster care, operating a school that serves over 1,000 students, and ministering to hundreds of couples struggling with infertility,” Graves said. “The state of Washington has no business strong-arming this church, or any other, into contradicting the deeply held beliefs that motivate its ministry.”
The church is also required under the Affordable Care Act to buy health insurance, so it cannot avoid paying for abortions by scrapping its health-care plan.
“Washington state has gone out of its way to bully churches and other religious nonprofits to violate their beliefs by paying for abortions,” said ADF Senior Counsel Kevin Theriot, vice president of the ADF Center for Life. “The Supreme Court has consistently held that government hostility toward people of faith is unconstitutional and has no place in our society.”