Federal court allows company to ignore HHS mandate

From The Hill:

Federal court allows company to ignore birth-control mandate [When will these newsies get that this isn’t a “contraception mandate”.]
By Sam Baker

A federal court said Friday that a Colorado-based company does not have to comply with the Obama administration’s birth-control mandate because of the employer’s religious beliefs. [OORAH!]

Several businesses and religious groups have sued over the policy, which requires most employers to provide contraception coverage in their healthcare plans. Friday’s temporary injunction is the first time a court has ruled against the policy. [Do I hear an “Amen!”?]

Judge John Kane emphasized that his ruling only applies to the specific company whose lawsuit he considered — Colorado-based Hercules Industries.  [Precedent.]

The company, like many others, said the contraception order violates the religious beliefs of its owner. Most of the lawsuits have been filed by Catholic groups who say they should not have to provide coverage that violates their religious opposition to contraception.

“Every American, including family business owners, should be free to live and do business according to their faith. For the time being, Hercules Industries will be able to do just that,” attorney Matt Bowman said in a statement.

The American Civil Liberties Union criticized the ruling. [Imagine me shock.]

“This is not religious freedom, this is discrimination,” said Sarah Lipton-Lubet, policy counsel for the ACLU Washington Legislative Office. “Real religious liberty gives everyone the right to make their own decisions about their own health, including whether and when to use birth control. It doesn’t give anyone the right to impose their beliefs on others.” [What a thick-headed remark.  The fact that someone with religious convictions does not want to pay for another person’s abortions through taking chemicals or for their surgical mutilations in no way amounts to an imposition of beliefs.  It surprises me that some of these opponents of religious liberty and the 1st Amendment are so thick as not to have grasped this point yet.]

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Brick by Brick, Emanations from Penumbras, Our Catholic Identity, Religious Liberty, The Drill, The future and our choices, The Last Acceptable Prejudice and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. wolfeken says:

    Interestingly, the judge was put there by Jimmy Carter.

  2. Charles E Flynn says:

    Catholic business owners score win against ObamaCare mandate, by Joshua Rhett Miller, for Fox News.

  3. Flos Carmeli says:

    “Religious Liberty” popularly used has come to mean “I am going to persist in my selfish behavior and you are going to applaud me and finance me and create laws to protect what I am doing at the expense of all other people.”

  4. AnAmericanMother says:

    It’s probably not precedential, at least not legally speaking.
    1. It’s only an injunction (at this stage of the game, probably a TRO). That’s not a final judgment, just a determination that the party will be harmed by the status quo, and that the party is likely to prevail on the merits (which really, from a trial court’s perspective, means that the party has a ‘good chance’. Nothing more.)
    2. It’s only a district court. District court decisions are persuasive, but not binding.
    But it’s still persuasive if other courts want it to be . . . .

  5. acardnal says:

    Ms. Sharon Lipton-Lubet said in the article above ““Real religious liberty gives everyone the right to make their own decisions about their own health, including whether and when to use birth control.” Apparently, she does not realize that no one is free to commit sin. As Blessed John Paul II said, “freedom consists not in doing what we like but in having the right to do what we ought.”
    –John Paul II, Speech at Camden Yards, Baltimore, Oct. 8, 1995.

  6. RichR says:

    My business health plan covers sterilizations and contraceptives, and I have told my employees that I am going to follow the Bishops’ lead and find an alternative. One that looks promising is the Solidarity HealthShare. Surprising enough, the employees are open to it. I hope that Catholic businessmen start being critical of their choices in the workplace and unite in opposing this movement of the Culture of Death.

    Catholic first. American second.

  7. AnnAsher says:

    This is good news. I first received it via text message. Along with the Fortnight for Freedom I signed up for text updates – they’re still coming! Pretty cool.

  8. Ecclesiae Filius says:

    This is the first great step in a process that will be long. Please join me in praying for alliancedefendingfreedom.org as they defend the rights of all believers.

  9. Fr. CK says:

    Finally a ray of hope coming out of our judiciary. Pray that it stands.
    St. Thomas More…pray for us.

  10. dwfinke says:

    @AnAmericanMother. Like you said, its just an injunction. I did get a little excited at the news, but trying to restrain myself.
    @RichR. I hope more business owners take action like you did.

  11. Cafeam Fruor says:

    “Real religious liberty gives everyone the right to make their own decisions about their own health, including whether and when to use birth control. It doesn’t give anyone the right to impose their beliefs on others.”

    Apparently, she doesn’t see how hypocritical it is to complain that we’re trying to impose our beliefs on others, while at the same time, she’s trying to impose her beliefs on everyone who doesn’t agree with her. Doesn’t anyone think logically anymore?? Sigh.

  12. jflare says:

    “When will these newsies get that this isn’t a “contraception mandate”.”

    Weellll, I don’t entirely disagree with the article’s author on this. If we had a case of the State telling us that we MUST declare a belief in consubstantiation, for example, I think the religious freedom aspect would have more merit.
    As things stand, we all know that we, the faithful, object to the State’s requiring us to pay for contraceptive and abortion services that we consider immoral. We all know that, had the Act–as passed and interpreted now–not REQUIRED us to pay for these services, we wouldn’t have objections, not as the official Church anyway.
    (Knowing that many of us Catholics object sternly to many of the requirements and concepts within the Act, the fact remains that the faithful, especially as represented by the USCCB to the various politicians, wound not object to the Act if had not included the stipulations related to birth control.)

    In that sense, our battle IS about a mandate related to paying for contraceptives.

  13. Johnno says:

    Ah the ACLU… the typical poster model for how completely devoid of rational thought and self-critical introspection modern man is accustomed to being…

    Remember folks! Liberty only matters for certain privileged peoples!

  14. Supertradmum says:

    I have this on my blog as well, as it is a bit of good news amidst many bad items regarding religious liberty. Let us hope this stands the onslaught of reviews and possible re-trials.

  15. TopSully says:

    ”  It surprises me that some of these opponents of religious liberty and the 1st Amendment are so thick as not to have grasped this point yet.”

    Fr Z. She is not thick headed and she know exactly what the point is and is not. But she knows that there are some people out there reading her quote in the paper who haven’t thought this topic through and therefore it is easy to sway them to her side.

    This is a common tactic of people who hold indefensible positions.

  16. jhayes says:

    Let us hope this stands the onslaught of reviews and possible re-trials.

    Supertradmum, they haven’t had a trial in this case yet. The judge’s order protects this one company from enforcement of the HHS mandate against it until three months after the trial is held and a decision is given. As the judge said in his order:

    Such injunction shall expire three months from entry of an order on the merits of Plaintiffs’ challenge. In order to expedite the resolution of this case, the parties shall file a Joint Case Management Plan on or before August 27, 2012.

    And, finally, I take this opportunity to emphasize the ad hoc nature of this injunction. The government’s arguments are largely premised upon a fear that granting an exemption to Plaintiffs will necessarily require granting similar injunction to all other for-profit, secular corporations voicing religious objections to the preventive care coverage mandate. This injunction is, however, premised upon the alleged substantial burden on Plaintiffs’ free exercise of religion – not to any alleged burden on any other party’s free exercise of religion. It does not enjoin enforcement of the preventive care coverage mandate against any other party.


  17. pfreddys says:

    YAY!!! First victory!!!! I think a really great thing about this is that this isn’t even an entity run by a diocese or Catholic organization. It is to protect one individual conscience.

  18. Joseph-Mary says:

    This ‘imposing of values’ thing is irritating. But it is okay for the government and the homosexuals and atheists and so on to IMPOSE their immoral ‘values’?????

    Something is wrong with this picture.

    This family was apparently told that they could either shut down their business (so much for the concern for small business) or quit being Catholic. This is a choice that many will face.

  19. dbqcatholic says:

    Hopefully the company’s legal team has addressed the (specious) counter-argument that the company is “imposing its values” on (non-believers)… (AFAICT) They aren’t prohibiting employees from obtaining birth control or procuring abortions — they are simply not facilitating it or paying for it. The employees could spend some of their wages to obtain them, or purchase a separate health plan that covers it, or use a state-funded health plan if they qualify. Not that any of those options would be good things, but there’s nothing preventing them from going that way, other then their consciences.

  20. pledbet424 says:

    The owners of this business go to my parish, Holy Ghost, in Denver. The company produces HVAC products for commercial businesses, and not many companies do this…if they were to shut down, it would send this industry into a tailspin. Besides the jobs that would be lost.

  21. acardnal says:

    The State should heed the Word of God. Even Billy Graham, 94, reminds America if God smote Sodom, what does America deserve for the millions of babies it has aborted?


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