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Businessman compares 'Obamacare' to 17th-century tyranny

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A Florida businessman who sued the Obama administration over the contraception mandate in the Affordable Care Act is drawing comparisons between the requirement and his ancestors’ escape from religious persecution in 17th-century England.

While several lawsuits against the “Obamacare” requirement cite constitutional protections or refer to Thomas Jefferson’s thoughts on religious liberty, court papers filed by Thomas R. Beckwith at the U.S. District Court in Tampa take on a personal twist.


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Attorneys for Mr. Beckwith, owner of Beckwith Electric Co., say his forefathers endured a long and “storm-ridden” voyage to America on a 40-foot boat called the “Sparrow Hawk” in 1626.

More than a century later, his ancestors joined the Connecticut militia to fight the British in the Revolutionary War “for independence from a tyrannical king.”

“Plaintiff Thomas R. Beckwith brings this suit to fight against the religious persecution his ancestors thought they had escaped,” the lawsuit says.

While few have taken as far as Mr. Beckwith, more than a dozen corporate owners have filed suit to say their religious freedoms are at risk because of the mandate, which imposes hefty fines if they fail to cover FDA-approved forms of contraception as part of their employer-based health plans.

Many of corporations says they particularly object to being forced to cover emergency contraception pills, like “Plan B” and “ella,” which they equate with abortion.

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