Employer sues for ‘religious freedom’ to drop PrEP coverage complains of bad publicity

One of the plaintiffs in what could be a landmark case denying health insurance coverage for PrEP and contraception is complaining of being harassed.

John Kelley, an orthodontist from Tarrant County, Texas, is among four plaintiffs in a class action lawsuit filed in the state challenging the federal government’s authority to mandate access to free vaccines, contraception, screening cancer and other preventative services with the Affordable Care Act (also sometimes called Obamacare).

Plaintiffs’ attorney Jonathan Mitchell says the name of the lawsuit, Kelley v. Xavier Becerra et al, caused Kelley to be the victim of “threats and cyberbullying”.

Kelley is listed among the plaintiffs along with Joel Starnes, Kelley’s dental practice Kelley Orthodontics and consulting firm Braidwood Management Inc.

Mitchell writes in a motion to change the name: “The Complainants are making this request because media coverage of this case has sparked a wave of threats and cyberbullying directed at the current Complainant, his family and his business, which would be mitigated. whether Braidwood was named as the first listed applicant in the future.

Lawyers representing the Biden administration did not object.

On Thursday, Judge Reed O’Connor ruled that the name of the case would be changed, to Braidwood Management, Inc. c. Xavier Becerra et al

Braidwood Management, doing business in Katy, Texas, is owned by Steven F. Hotze.

Mitchell, the former Texas solicitor general and one of the main architects of SB 8, the law giving a bounty to anyone in Texas suspected of assisting with an abortion after six weeks, filed a lawsuit targeting contraception, PrEP and other preventive services in March 2020.

Access to these and other services may be jeopardized following the Supreme Court’s reversal of Roe vs. Wade in June.

Mitchell’s collection of plaintiffs represent objections to a variety of warrants.

Kelley was described in the lawsuit as a Christian who is unwilling to support certain forms of birth control or PrEP on religious grounds because they “encourage homosexual behavior and intravenous drug use.”

Starnes, who represents people who oppose the mandate on principle, said on Facebook: “As an adopted son of God, husband, father, native of Texas and patriot of the United States, I fight for our natural rights – Life, Liberty and Property.

Braidwood owner Hotze opposes mandatory coverage of STI testing and counseling for those engaging in non-marital sexual behavior.

In the lawsuit, Mitchell writes, “The government cannot show that forcing private insurers to provide free PrEP drugs, the HPV vaccine, screenings and behavioral counseling for STDs and drug use is a government policy. of such paramount importance that it can prevail. objections to religious freedom.

At a hearing in late July, Mitchell claimed on behalf of his clients that the warrants made them complicit in “behavior contrary to their sincere religious beliefs.”