First Court Decision on Contraception Mandate Due Tomorrow
Throughout the controversy over the Obamacare contraception mandate, the focus has been on religious institutions—schools, hospitals, colleges, etc. But what about individuals who own and operate a small business, but have religious qualms about offering their employees health insurance that pays for birth control and abortifacients? Though it has flown under the radar, there is a case now before the federal district court in Denver that could offer the first indication of where the law will come out. According to Kathryn Jean Lopez of National Review:
The Newland family of Denver, Colo., are among those whose religious liberties will be curtailed come August 1, the date the mandate goes into effect. Since they are not a religious organization of any sort, they are not eligible for the one-year waiver the administration has offered. They run Hercules Industries, a distributor of heating, air conditioning, and ventilation parts. This afternoon they find themselves in federal court asking for an injunction so that they might continue to enjoy the conscience rights they’ve always had in the 50-year run of their family business. As Catholics, they can’t in good conscience provide insurance plans that cover abortion-inducing drugs, sterilization, and contraception.
The administration argues in its brief in the case that this curtailment of their rights is as it should be: “Once [an organization] enters the marketplace of commerce in any substantial degree it loses the complete control over its membership that it would otherwise enjoy if it confined its affairs to the marketplace of ideas.”
“America is a country founded on freedom, not on a presumption of government coercion,” Matthew Bowman, the Newlands’ lawyer from the Alliance Defending Freedom tells me. “Religious freedom in America has always included the way people exercise their beliefs Monday through Friday, not just on Sundays and in soup kitchens. If the government succeeds in destroying religious freedom for family businesses, they won’t be able to allow Jesus Christ to reign over their entire lives.” It’s the freedom to be authentically Christian.
Lopez also reports that a decision will come out tomorrow on this case. Check back here for the latest on the administration’s efforts to undermine the First Amendment.
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