A Seattle-area church is fighting in court for its religious rights that are supposed to be guaranteed under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
The legal battle is underway because the state of Washington is trying to force churches to violate their pro-life religious beliefs in order to cover elective abortions in their health insurance plans.
The church filed its opening brief last week with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, asking for a reversal of a lower court decision that dismissed the church's lawsuit against the state of Washington.
The lawsuit, Cedar Park Assembly of God of Kirkland v. Kreidler, challenges the constitutionality of Washington State Senate Bill 6219, which was signed into law in March 2018. The legislation requires Cedar Park to provide coverage for abortion if the church also offers maternity care coverage to its employees or face fines and criminal penalties, including imprisonment.
Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys representing the church are challenging the constitutionality of the state's abortion coverage demands. As a result of the state's mandate, the church's insurance carrier inserted surgical abortion coverage directly into the church's health plan. The insurer indicated that it would remove the offensive coverage if a court were to hold that the state law is unconstitutional.
"No church should be forced to cover abortions, and certainly not a church that dedicates its ministry to protecting and celebrating life like Cedar Park does," said ADF Legal Counsel Elissa Graves. "Cedar Park believes and teaches that every human life begins at conception and is worthy of protection until natural death, so providing insurance coverage for abortions is clearly not something the church can or should be forced to do."
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