Seattle church to 9th Circuit: Don’t let Washington State force us to pay for employee abortions



A Seattle-area church filed with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit this week after a lower court ruled that the church must pay for healthcare coverage that includes elective abortions.

A Washington state law passed in 2018 requires most employers to provide healthcare coverage for employees that includes elective abortions if the coverage also includes maternity care. Those who violate the law can face criminal penalties, including even prison time.

“Cedar Park Church celebrates and protects life from conception to natural death; it’s unconscionable for the state to force any church to pay for abortions,” John Bursch, senior counsel and vice president at Alliance Defending Freedom, the legal group helping represent the church, said in a statement.

“The abortion coverage mandate requires Cedar Park to act contrary to its religious beliefs and violates its constitutionally protected freedoms,” he said. “The U.S. Supreme Court has established that the government cannot compel religious organizations to act in violation of their sincerely held faith convictions.”

Bursch pointed to Fulton v. City of Philadelphia, a recent Supreme Court ruling where the court said that the city of Philadelphia could not stop sending foster-care referrals to Catholic Social Services because of its beliefs about marriage. The case was a win for religious liberty advocates, pushing back against how the government can discriminate against faith-based groups for their beliefs.

Read the one-page case summary

A key issue in this new case, Cedar Park Assembly of God of Kirkland v. Kreidler, is whether churches can access the same conscience protections extended to health care providers.

“Washington offers real conscience protection to health care providers, religiously sponsored health carriers, and health care facilities,” ADF said in its opening brief. “These religious objectors are exempt from including abortion coverage in their own employee health plans or paying for abortion coverage in any circumstance. Yet because Cedar Park is a church and not a healthcare-related entity, Washington forces it to (at least) indirectly include abortion and abortifacient contraceptives in its health plan. And the state authorizes health carriers to charge Cedar Park for this abortion coverage surreptitiously.”

Legal documents related to this case:

First brief of appellant/cross-appellee

Notice of appeal

Defendant’s motion for summary judgment granted

Plaintiff’s opposition to defendants’ motion for summary judgment

Plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment

9th Circuit opinion

Plaintiff-appellant’s reply brief filed with 9th Circuit

Plaintiff-appellant’s opening brief filed with 9th Circuit

Order denying motion for preliminary injunction and granting motion to dismiss

Plaintiff’s motion for preliminary injunction and memorandum in support

Plaintiff’s opposition to defendants’ motion to dismiss



  1. Why would a pro- abortion woman even work for a pro-life organization. Faith-based non profits and churches should been vetting out their employees better that their values and the same as their prolife employer. Then they don’t waste any one’s time so to go work at one of the fake-churches.

    • A pro abortion person would take that job to undermine the Christian church Jen.
      Typical Leftist harassment, they want the lawsuit …. they NEVER give up

  2. Why stop there? Why not mandate the female employees must have at least 2 abortions to keep their jobs?

  3. This has already been argued & won. Isn’t it the woke left that keeps saying abortion is birth control?

    Burwell v. Hobby Lobby ruling, on June 30, 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court allowed certain bosses to block their employees’ access to birth control. The decision on this Supreme Court birth control case applied to more than half of all U.S. workers — that’s the tens of millions of workers at companies in which five or fewer people own more than 50%.

    Two privately owned companies brought the case: cabinet manufacturer Conestoga Wood Specialties, and the Hobby Lobby national chain of craft stores, which employs 28,000.

    Conestoga and Hobby Lobby’s Issue with Birth Control

    The owners of these companies objected to having health insurance plans that included birth control — a coverage guarantee under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that has allowed nearly 63 million American women to access affordable birth control and has saved existing benefit recipients at least $1.4 billion on birth control pills alone since the provision went into effect (in 2013).

    The Hobby Lobby bosses thought it was their business to control their employees’ access to birth control. In fact, the owners claimed that it violated their religious beliefs to let their employees have access birth control coverage. Apparently, the owners were not concerned about trampling on the beliefs and basic health care needs of their employees.

    The Court ruled against birth control access in a 5-to-4 decision, with the majority of the justices saying that Hobby Lobby and other “closely held corporations” could deny birth control coverage to their employees.

    I just copied & paste the Google information from

    • This too is misconstrued and wordsmithed beyond recognition: Hobby Lobby did not want to pay for abortion services (or birth control pills) in their obaminator-care mandated insurance. The equation of abortion – killing a baby (contragestation) – with birth control pills (contraception) is made by the wordsmiths. Abortion is murder, not preventing pregnancy – big difference. Birth control pills are already “affordable” for those who want to use them. If 63 million people in the U.S. can’t afford them, we have a much bigger problem than Hobby Lobby not wanting to pay for them. Hobby Lobby was not seeking to control access – only to remove themselves from any culpability in the deaths of children as a result of government mandated insurance coverage. They aren’t so stupid as to think they can control the personal, off-the-clock, activities of their employees. Google is full of spin, but it didn’t flush.

  4. And that folks, is why “The Church” was never meant to be a building or business entity. “The Church” is us. People who have faith in God’s grace and love through the blood sacrifice of Jesus Christ as our salvation and grantor of freedom. It’s people of faith in Jesus. And that’s something all the combined ABC federal agencies can never control or take away.

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