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First Liberty Institute Attorneys Meet with Executive Agency on Draft HHS Contraceptive Mandate Rule

Attorneys hope meeting with the Office of Management and Budget will help resolve years of litigation

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July 24, 2017

Washington, D.C.—Today, attorneys with First Liberty Institute held an on-the-record meeting with officials from the executive agencies tasked with reviewing rules related to the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive mandate following President Trump’s Executive Order from May 4, 2017, entitled, “Promoting Free Speech and Religious Liberty.” During the meeting, First Liberty urged that the draft interim final rule leaked to the press last month and offering broad conscience protections be made final as soon as possible.

Read First Liberty’s letter provided to Director Mick Mulvaney on behalf of its clients at Monday’s meeting by clicking here.

“Our clients have been litigating against the government’s effort to punish business owners and ministry leaders for following their religious beliefs and moral convictions since 2013,” said Matthew Kacsmaryk, Deputy General Counsel for First Liberty. “As President Trump recognized in the Rose Garden on May 4, it is time to reaffirm ‘America’s leadership role as a nation that protects religious freedom for everyone.’ That starts by finalizing this draft interim final rule and ending years of litigation.”

First Liberty Institute currently represents the Insight for Living Ministries, the Bible-teaching ministry of Pastor Charles R. Swindoll, along with four retirement communities and two colleges associated with the Christian and Missionary Alliance Church.

In late May, a draft of an interim final rule was leaked the press. The draft rule proposes to reverse guidelines instituted during the Obama administration. Rather than offer narrow exemptions limited primarily to churches and their auxiliaries, under the draft interim final rule, Trump administration officials appear poised to adopt broad exemptions based upon an individual, business, or organization’s religious conscience or moral conviction.

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First Liberty is a non-profit, public interest law firm dedicated to defending religious liberty for all Americans. To arrange an interview, contact Abigail Doty at adoty@firstliberty.org or by calling 469-440-7598 (office) or 469-237-9102 (cell).

To download this press release, please click here.

Dear Coach Kennedy,

I would like to say thank you. Your dedication to your faith and your commitment to the positive education of our youth is truly admirable. I am deeply grateful for your military service and for taking a courageous stance in protecting religious liberty rights for teachers and administrators.

If our First Amendment protects a player’s right to kneel in protest, it certainly protects your right to kneel in prayer.

I was shocked to learn that Bremerton High School suspended you after denying your request to continue your wholesome practice of giving thanks after football games.

The Bremerton School District’s actions violate the law and send the wrong message to coaches, young people, our communities, and our nation — a message of hostility to religious freedom and intolerance toward personal religious expression.

Please know that you are not alone in this difficult time — I support you and First Liberty as you continue to fight for religious freedom! Our schools need more coaches like you, our country needs more citizens like you, and our world needs more people like you.