Skip to comments.Alabama joins EWTN in lawsuit against HHS mandate
Posted on 10/28/2013 7:11:49 AM PDT by markomalley
EWTN Global Catholic Network has been joined by the state of Alabama in a new lawsuit against the Obama administrations contraception and sterilization mandate.
EWTN has no other option but to continue our legal challenge to the mandate, said chairman Michael P. Warsaw in an Oct. 28 statement announcing the suit.
The network had originally filed a suit against the federal government Feb. 9, 2012 and was later joined by Alabama through the state's attorney general, Luther Strange. That suit was dismissed, but in the new suit, Alabama has joined EWTN at the start.
I am proud to stand with EWTN to oppose this unconscionable mandate. the freedom of religion, and to believe as one sees fit, is our first freedom under the United States Constitution, Strange said regarding the new lawsuit.
The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty is representing both EWTN and Alabama in the suit.
Version 2.0 of the mandate is just as bad as version 1.0, Lori Windham, senior counsel at the Becket Fund said. It would still force the worlds preeminent Catholic network to betray publicly the very teachings it was founded to promote, and which it promotes on a daily basis.
EWTN's original suit against the HHS mandate was dismissed March 25 by Judge Sharon Lovelace Blackburn, who said the matter should be deferred until the mandates new regulations were created and finalized.
At the time she noted that the Obama administration vowed to implement new rules to address concerns such as those raised by EWTN and Alabama.
The mandate was issued by the Department of Health and Human Services under the Affordable Care Act and requires employers to provide and pay for contraception, sterilization and abortion-causing drugs and procedures in employee health insurance plans, even if doing so violates the employer's conscience or religious beliefs.
In June 2013, the government finalized an exemption from the mandate for certain religious organizations, however, the exemption only applies to houses of worship, and not religious non-profit ministries, schools, hospitals or charities, nor does it apply to for-profit organizations run by religious persons.
By shifting the contraception coverage from the employer to the insurance provided by the employer Warsaw said the federal government has essentially ignored their concerns.
As an organization that was founded to uphold the teachings of the Catholic Church, we do not believe that contraception, voluntary sterilization, and abortion-inducing drugs constitute health care, Warsaw said. We simply cannot facilitate these immoral practices.
We sincerely hoped that our concerns would be addressed. Instead, the government ignored our comments entirely and pressed forward with a rule that changed nothing. We are in the same position today as we were when the mandate was first published.
He noted that under the finalized regulations, the network is still finding itself in a situation where we are forced to offer contraception, sterilization, and abortion-inducing drugs as part of our employee health plan or to offer our employees and their families no insurance at all.
Neither of these options are acceptable. The mission of EWTN is not negotiable.
The federal government is currently facing 75 lawsuits challenging the HHS mandate on grounds of the freedom of religion and the protection of conscience rights.
Over 60 lawsuits have been filed nationwide against this unprecedented government command. Many involve nonprofit entities, such as the University of Notre Dame. But roughly 35 of these lawsuits involve for-profit businesses which are wholly owned by a person or family with a religious belief against abortion, such as devout Christians.
These lawsuits argue both that the HHS Mandate violates the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment as well as a federal law called the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). The federal appeals courts have split on whether a religiously-owned business can claim religious-liberty protections and whether requiring people to provide abortion-related services is a substantial burden on religious faith.
It is almost certain the Supreme Court will take up this issue in the coming year, and Conestoga is the first case to offer an acceptable vehicle for the justices to take up the question. Another such case would have been Hobby Lobbys challenge to the mandate, but Hobby Lobby won before the Tenth Circuit appeals court; the Obama-Holder Justice Department has not asked the High Court to grant review.
Praying that a just decision is coming ... and 0bamacare is thrown out completely.
what about tortious interference with contracts?