CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A Kanawha County businessman is seeking a temporary restraining order against the federal government and the Affordable Care Act.
Longtime South Charleston car dealer Joey Holland claims he shouldn’t be forced to provide controversial emergency contraceptives to his employees under Obamacare. The lawsuit claims his First Amendment rights have been violated.
Family Policy Council of West Virginia’s executive director Jeremy Dys said Holland has a deeply held religious belief against abortion.
“No American should be punished by his or her government for simply living life as a person of faith in public,” Dys said. “The government should never be able to coerce a family owned, faith-based business to violate their religious beliefs.”
Holland has previously said his business is “to glorify and honor God by being faithful stewards for all that is entrusted to us.”
Dys said Holland faces a $100-per-employee daily fine beginning July 1 if he doesn’t agree to pay for drugs like Plan B One-Step, the “morning after” pill. That would equate to $15,000 a day and nearly $5.5 million annually.
The new terms of the Affordable Care Act, commonly referred to as Obamacare, kick in July 1 for Holland and other business owners. Dys said Holland has budgeted for other increased costs Obamacare will bring but he won’t provide the controversial “abortion inducing drugs.”
Holland isn’t alone. Some 60 similar lawsuits covering about 200 plaintiffs have been filed in other states with approximately 20 courts issuing injunctive relief. Holland is the first West Virginia business owner to file such a suit and the first one in the 4th Circuit.
“He’s steadfast in his refusal. He cannot in good conscience provide drugs that are going to violate his religious beliefs to his employees,” Dys said.
Holland previously exempted coverage of those drugs when he had control over his business’ insurance plan.
“In the past he’s never had any kind of abortion coverage for his employees and he cares deeply about his employees,” Dys said. “He’s saying with this lawsuit that he and every West Virginian should never be punished by their government for simply living their life as a person of faith in public.”
Holland’s lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in Charleston Monday by the Family Policy Council, Liberty Institute and Robinson & McElwee, PLLC . He’s seeking a temporary restraining order and ultimately a permanent injunction.