(CNSNews.com) – Within 24 hours of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that the Obama administration was wrong to impose its contraceptive and abortion drug regulation on small companies that oppose it on religious grounds, two federal courts granted emergency injunctions to seven non-profit groups that also oppose the rule.
In a July 1 news release from the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, the non-profit law firm stated that the Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN) and five Catholic institutions in Wyoming -- Catholic Diocese of Cheyenne, Catholic Charities of Wyoming, St. Joseph’s Children’s Home, St. Anthony Tri-Parish Catholic School and Wyoming Catholic College – were granted temporary waivers from the mandate.
Also, a separate federal court granted a temporary injunction to Wheaton College to protect it from the mandate.
The Obamacare rule, set by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), required that nearly all employers (with 50 or more workers) offer health insurance that covered contraception, sterilization, and abortion-inducing drugs without co-payments. If a company or group refused to follow the rule, they faced potentially crippling fines.
As the Supreme Court noted in its ruling on Hobby Lobby, the for-profit, family-owned business faced penalties of $475 million per year, which would have bankrupted the company. Co-plaintiff Conestoga faced fines of $33 million per year, and co-plaintiff Mardel faced $15 million per year. (See Burwell-v-Hobby-Lobby.pdf)
“Thanks to the courts’ decisions, Eternal Word [EWTN] can now freely practice what they preach. The death knell is sounding for the HHS Mandate,” Lori Windham, senior counsel at the Becket Fund and counsel for Eternal Word, said in the release.
“The ruling in Hobby Lobby and then these two rulings in quick succession show that the HHS Mandate is on its last legs when it comes to religious non-profits,” she said. “The sad part is that it has taken almost three years of litigation to get to a result the Administration should have supported in the first place because it is the right thing to do.”
“Government shouldn’t be in the business of forcing nuns to violate their religious convictions,” said Windham.
In another news release, the Becket Fund called the ruling in favor of the Eternal Word Television Network, which was founded by a semi-cloistered nun, Mother Angelica, and focused on spreading the Catholic Church’s teachings, a “resounding victory for religious freedom.”
“We are thankful that the Eleventh Circuit protected our right to religious freedom while we pursue our case in court,” said EWTN Chairman and DEO Michael Warsaw. “We want to continue to practice the same Catholic faith that we preach to the world every day.”
“The seven religious institutions that obtained protection today join the 80 percent-plus of HHS legal challenges that have resulted in favorable rulings supporting religious freedom,” the Becket Fund stated, adding that “there are currently 100 lawsuits challenging the unconstitutional HHS mandate.”
Using an abortion-inducing drug, as well as other contraceptives, and sterilization, is contrary to the Catholic faith.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches, "From its conception, the child has the right to life. Direct abortion, that is, abortion willed as an end or as a means, is a 'criminal' practice (GS 27 § 3), gravely contrary to the moral law. The Church imposes the canonical penalty of excommunication for this crime against human life." (2322)
The Catholic Church also teaches that deliberate use of a contraceptive or sterilization to "render procreation impossible" is "intrinsically evil." (2370)
In its June 30 ruling in the Hobby Lobby case, the majority of justices on the Supreme Court said that four of the 20 contraceptive methods approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) “may have the effect of preventing an already fertilized egg from developing any further by inhibiting its attachment to the uterus.”
The label on the FDA-approved contraceptive drug Plan B states that “this product works mainly by preventing ovulation (egg release.) It may also prevent fertilization of a released egg (joining of sperm and egg) or attachment of a fertilized egg to the uterus (implantation).”
The Supreme Court ruling further said, “In these cases, the owners of three closely held for-profit corporations have sincere Christian beliefs that life begins at conception and that it would violate their religion to facilitate access to contraceptive drugs or devices that operate after that point.” (See Burwell-v-Hobby-Lobby.pdf)