BY MATT BOWMAN | OCTOBER 24, 2012
Biden dishonest about abortion pill mandate
Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys who are litigating numerous lawsuits against the Obama administration’s abortion pill and contraceptive mandate are calling Vice President Joe Biden’s claims that effectively denied the mandate’s existence in Thursday’s vice-presidential debate “amazingly false.”
In response to a question about the mandate, Biden claimed, “With regard to the assault on the Catholic church, let me make it absolutely clear, no religious institution, Catholic or otherwise…none has to either refer contraception, none has to pay for contraception, none has to be a vehicle to get contraception in any insurance policy they provide. That is a fact.”
“It’s embarrassing to claim that something doesn’t exist while you’re defending it in court,” said Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Legal Counsel Matt Bowman. “The abortion pill mandate’s very existence and the Obama administration’s ongoing legal defense of it demonstrate how amazingly false the vice president’s claims are.”
The mandate explicitly requires religious groups to provide payment, counseling, and an insurance “vehicle” for abortion pills, contraception, and sterilization.
“If Biden’s claims are accurate, Alliance Defending Freedom calls upon President Obama to rescind his mandate,” Bowman added. “We also call upon the Department of Justice to withdraw all of its briefs in defense of forcing faith-based family businesses and other religious organizations to be a vehicle for abortion pills and contraceptives in the insurance policies they provide. If they won’t do this, the vice president should set the record straight and admit that his claims are in error.”
After Biden denied that religious organizations would be forced to comply with the mandate, Republican Vice Presidential Nominee Paul Ryan asked Biden, “Why would they keep suing you? It’s a distinction without a difference.”
On July 27, Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys obtained the first-ever court order against the mandate on behalf of Colorado’s Hercules Industries and the Catholic family that owns it. That order temporarily suspends the mandate against Hercules Industries while its lawsuit goes forward in court. Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys are seeking a similar order for Tyndale House Publishers, a publisher of Bibles and other Christian materials that donates 96.5 percent of its profits to faith-based non-profit causes around the world. A hearing in that case has been rescheduled from Oct. 16 to Oct. 29.
Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys are also litigating three other lawsuits against the mandate: one in Indiana on behalf of Indiana’s Grace College and Seminary and California’s Biola University; one in Pennsylvania on behalf of Geneva College and The Seneca Hardwood Lumber Company and its owners, the Hepler family; and one in Louisiana on behalf of Louisiana College. The lawsuits represent a large cross-section of Protestants and Catholics who object to the mandate.
Alliance Defending Freedom (formerly Alliance Defense Fund) is an alliance-building legal ministry that advocates for the right of people to freely live out their faith.
Matt Bowman serves as senior legal counsel with Alliance Defending Freedom at its Washington, D.C., Regional Service Center, where he is a key member of the Life Litigation Project to protect the sanctity of human life. Before joining Alliance Defending Freedom in 2006, Bowman clerked for several federal judges, including The Honorable Samuel A. Alito, Jr., at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. He is admitted to the bar in Michigan, the U.S. Supreme Court, the District of Columbia, and numerous other federal courts. Practicing law since 2003, Bowman earned his J.D. from Ave Maria School of Law.