LOPEZ: The president contended last week that there is a compromise. So why would you sue?
AGUILLARD: Any repeated claim that the government has compromised is recycled nonsense. The HHS mandate will force us to cover abortion pills in our health plans at no cost to employees. The facts are as simple as that. The only compromise the administration has made is with the truth.
LOPEZ: How is it any of your business, as the president of a university, if your employee uses an abortion drug? That is their legal right, isn’t it, under Roe v. Wade?
AGUILLARD: It’s none of the government’s business what Louisiana College offers in our health plans. It is also not the government’s business to impose its religious practice of condoning murder in exchange for our religious practice of protecting innocent lives. Our choice to exclude abortion pills from our coverage doesn’t prevent anyone from making the choice to use those drugs. Arguing that a refusal to pay for abortion drugs is the same as blocking access to them is like saying that I stopped you from going to the movies because I didn’t buy you a ticket. It’s absurd. However, forcing a Christian college to pay for or facilitate life-ending drugs is a gross violation of freedoms protected by the First Amendment.
LOPEZ: Has this been a learning experience for you? Constitutionally? Politically? Religiously?
AGUILLARD: I’ve certainly learned what it’s like to see out-of-control politicians and bureaucrats abuse their offices to attack fundamental freedoms. It’s made me cherish the freedoms our Founders passed on to us that much more.
LOPEZ: If the administration were somehow to further tweak the mandate and remove abortifacients, would it make a difference? Theoretically they could propose this, since there is still a not-final proposal out there.
AGUILLARD: The administration has shown no substantial interest in moving an inch to protect religious freedom. The next time Americans can trust the Obama administration on the issue of religious freedom will be the first. They are well aware that the adminstration is attacking freedom, so if it hasn’t backed off yet, it won’t until it’s forced to do so. That’s why Louisiana College filed this suit with the help of Alliance Defending Freedom.
LOPEZ: Are you uncomfortable at this point with a health-care law that doesn’t protect conscience in the way we have been protecting it since the beginning of the republic?
AGUILLARD: The concept of a government’s mandating a Christian college to choose between its deeply held beliefs and continuing to operate is an alien concept in the history of this republic. To describe Louisiana College’s position on this mandate as “uncomfortable” is insufficient. We are outraged. Every American should share this outrage that the conscience protections that have existed since our founding are being dismantled before our eyes.