Washington Tells AG Church They Must Pay for Abortions

(Photo by Mel Elías on Unsplash)

The attorneys for a church in Seattle filed a federal lawsuit on Friday against Washington state officials for forcing churches to pay for elective abortions in their health insurance.

Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) lawyers representing Cedar Park Assembly of God, challenged the constitutionality and legality of a new state mandate that requires the Seattle-area church to fund abortion if it provides its staff members access to group health insurance.

"No church should be coerced to pay for abortions, least of all a church that dedicates its ministry to protecting and celebrating life," ADF Legal Counsel Elissa Graves said in a press release. "Cedar Park believes and teaches that every human life begins at conception and is worthy of protection at every point until natural death."

"Further still, 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," the press release continued. "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's lawsuit challenges the constitutionality and legality of Washington State Senate Bill 6219, legislation signed into law last March. 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.

"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, said in a press release. "The Supreme Court has consistently held that government hostility toward people of faith is unconstitutional and has no place in our society. The state's policy crushes dissent and violates the Constitution's Free Exercise Clause by targeting Cedar Park's entirely legitimate internal policies and religious beliefs."

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