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Tampa Attorneys Succeed in Religious Freedom Challenge to Affordable Care Act on Behalf of Christian Ministries

7/16/2015
Adams and Reese Tampa attorneys Stephanie Martin and Christopher Roach have spent more than 100 hours of pro bono work successfully raising a challenge to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) for various ministries of the Christian and Missionary Alliance under the First Amendment and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

The CMA ministries object on religious grounds to the ACA because of its mandate to provide abortion-inducing contraceptives in violation of their sincerely held religious briefs. Roach and Martin have partnered with the Dallas-based Liberty Institute in representing these clients.

Roach and Martin achieved a preliminary injunction after an extended oral argument before Judge John Steele, of the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida in Fort Myers (Christian and Missionary Alliance Found., Inc., et al., v. Burwell, Sec’y of Health and Human Services, et al., No. 2:14-cv-580-FtM-29CM) (M.D. Fla., Mar. 18, 2015).  In making its ruling, the Court observed that compelling the organizations to identify their insurance providers to HHS, as required under the government’s recently promulgated rules for the exemption, forces the groups to become “excessively entangled in the process of providing coverage for services which their sincerely held religious beliefs prohibit.”  The district court’s ruling has been appealed by the Department of Justice.

Roach and Martin are continuing to represent these clients in the appeal to the Eleventh Circuit and in the continuing action before the trial court.