(CNSNews.com) -- On July 5, the U.S. Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania ordered that the federal government is permanently prohibited from forcing Geneva College, a Christian school in Pennsylvania, to pay for abortive services included in the Obamacare mandate.
The federal court also found that former President Obama’s Affordable Care Act (ACA) “constitutes a violation of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 (‘RFRA’).”
The court’s permanent injunction and declaratory relief order states that:
“IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that defendants, their respective successors in office, their agents, officers, employees and all others in active concert or participation with them are hereby PERMANENTLY ENJOINED AND RESTRAINED from 1) applying or enforcing the requirements of [coverage of preventative health services] and implementing regulations and accommodation process, and 2) pursuing any enforcement actions against, or imposing any penalties upon Geneva College.”
Since the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the ACA, or Obamacare, as a valid tax in 2012, the Obama-era mandate has had the effect of forcing employers to provide their employees with healthcare plans that include an array of contraceptive and abortive drugs.
Many other pro-life Christian schools and organizations throughout the country have filed lawsuits against the ACA since it infringes on their religious beliefs with the threat of financial penalties, if they refuse to comply.
The Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), a conservative Christian organization dedicated to protecting religious freedom in court, represented Geneva College in the suit.
ADF Senior Counsel Gregory S. Baylor said in a press release that “religious organizations have the freedom to operate peacefully according to their beliefs without the threat of punishment by the government. Today’s order fully affirms that freedom and provides permanent protection from the mandate.”
“Geneva College no longer has to fear being forced to pay fines for simply abiding by the Christian beliefs it teaches and espouses, and it is no longer required to fill out forms authorizing coverage for abortion-inducing drugs,” Baylor said. “The government has many other ways to ensure access to these drugs without forcing people of faith to violate their deepest convictions.”
As reported by the ADF, the U.S. Supreme Court decided to send a group of abortion-pill lawsuits, including Geneva College’s case, back to lower appeals courts for resolution in 2016.