GLENSIDE, Pa., March 11, 2013– Westminster Theological Seminary announced today that it has initiated litigation against several federal governmental agencies and their cabinet member secretaries regarding the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Affordable Care Act.
Westminster, which is represented by prominent Houston litigator Ken Wynne, moved March 8 to intervene in the Becket Fund’s lawsuit on behalf of East Texas Baptist University and Houston Baptist University in Houston Federal District Court. The lawsuit challenges certain regulations enacted under the Affordable Care Act requiring Westminster to provide health insurance to its employees to cover drugs designed to induce abortions.
The Complaint, submitted to the federal district court in Houston, Texas, states federal agency defendants are violating Westminster’s rights under the First Amendment, and related statutes, to the free exercise of religion, by requiring the Seminary to provide health insurance to its employees that covers, and thereby promotes, their use of abortion-inducing drugs. Westminster believes this is in direct violation of one of the most basic tenets of its religious foundation – the sanctity of life – the understanding that every human life is created in the image of God.
“It is indisputable that every human embryo, formed the moment a human egg is fertilized, has a unique human identity,” said Westminster President Peter Lillback. “That is a human life the Affordable Care Act we are challenging would destroy. In Westminster’s view, this mandate is the antithesis of the federal government’s solemn responsibility ‘to promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty’ for its citizens.”
The federal government has recently proposed a regulatory “accommodation” that it asserts will spare Westminster and like institutions from any cost of providing and promoting the use of such drugs and will satisfy their First Amendment concerns.
“This proposed ‘accommodation’ does not protect Westminster, but instead only supplements and makes more stringent the mandate that would override our religious convictions,” Lillback said.
Westminster has taken this action in joining with the Becket Fund, and will pursue it resolutely, in furtherance of its mission to lead and serve the Kingdom of Christ according to God’s Word.