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3rd judge vetoes abortion pill mandate

A third federal judge has vetoed the Obama administration’s efforts to enforce an abortion pill mandate against Christians, this time ruling in favor of a Bible publisher.

Officials with the Alliance Defending Freedom said government attorneys had argued that Tyndale House Publishers simply wasn’t religious enough for an exemption from the mandate.

The rule is part of Obamacare and forces employers, including Christians, to pay for abortion-inducing drugs, sterilization and contraception as part of health insurance coverages under the threat of ruinous financial penalties.

ADF officials said Tyndale House Publishers, based in Carol Stream, Ill., is the world’s largest privately held Christian publisher of books, Bibles, and digital media and directs 96.5 percent of its profits to religious non-profit causes worldwide.

The publisher specifically objects to covering abortifacients.

“Bible publishers should be free to do business according to the book that they publish,” said Senior Legal Counsel Matt Bowman, who argued before the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on Nov. 9. “The court has done the right thing in halting the mandate while our lawsuit moves forward. For the government to say that a Bible publisher is not religious is startling. It demonstrates how clearly the Obama administration is willing to disregard the Constitution’s protection of religious freedom to achieve certain political purposes.”

The court’s opinion, which accompanied a preliminary injunction, said, “the beliefs of Tyndale and its owners are indistinguishable…. Christian principles, prayer, and activities are pervasive at Tyndale, and the company’s ownership structure is designed to ensure that it never strays from its faith-oriented mission. The court has no reason to doubt, moreover, that Tyndale’s religious objection to providing insurance coverage for certain contraceptives reflects the beliefs of Tyndale’s owners. Nor is there any dispute that Tyndale’s primary owner, the Foundation, can ‘exercise religion’ in its own right, given that it is a non-profit religious organization; indeed, the case law is replete with examples of such organizations asserting cognizable free exercise and RFRA [Religious Freedom Restoration Act] challenges.”

A few weeks ago, a federal judge in Michigan became the second to say he would halt the federal government’s enforcement of the Obamacare mandate that employers pay for abortifacients regardless of their religious views.

Writing that “a preliminary injunction would serve the public interest,” Judge Robert H. Cleland said he would issue the order in a case involving Daniel Weingartz and his company, Weingartz Supply.

“The potential for harm to plaintiffs exists, and with the showing plaintiffs have made thus far of being able to convincingly prove their case at trial, it is properly characterized as irreparable,” he wrote.

The decisions mean the federal government will not be allowed to enforce its abortion mandate against the companies until the lawsuits are resolved.

And in an earlier case in Denver, WND reported when U.S. District Judge John J. Kane of Colorado granted Hercules Co. owners Andy Newland and other family members a similar order preventing enforcement of the mandate against the family-owned company.

The “mandate” is a set of regulations adopted by Barack Obama’s Department of Health and Human Services, run by the emphatically pro-abortion Kathleen Sebelius, that forces employers, regardless of religious faith, to provide insurance coverage for abortion-inducing drugs, sterilization and contraception under threat of financial penalties.

“The loss of First Amendment freedoms, for even minimal periods of time, unquestionably constitutes irreparable injury,” Cleland wrote. “The harm in delaying the implementation of a statute that may later be deemed constitutional must yield to the risk presented here of substantially infringing the sincere exercise of religious beliefs. The balance of harms tips strongly in plaintiffs’ favor. A preliminary injunction is warranted.”

In the case involving Tyndale, the publisher is subject to the mandate because Obama administration rules say for-profit corporations are categorically non-religious, even though Tyndale House is strictly a publisher of Bibles and other Christian materials and is primarily owned by the non-profit Tyndale House Foundation. The foundation provides grants to help meet the physical and spiritual needs of people around the world.

ADF attorneys already are litigating a long list of additional cases.

It was Obama himself who said his “Christian faith” has guided his presidency, and, “In a changing world my commitment to protecting religious liberty is and always will be unwavering.”

Obama’s statement:

ADF attorneys have clients in other cases challenging the mandate, including Indiana’s Grace College, California’s Biola University, Louisiana College and Pennsylvania’s Geneva College and the Seneca Hardwood Co.

Other lawsuits have been filed by Wheaton College in Illinois, Catholic University of America, University of Notre Dame, the Archdiocese of New York and the Catholic University of America.

And leaders of of a number of religious-advocacy groups are warning of the Obamacare contraception mandate consequences for business owners of faith: