A federal court Friday granted a preliminary injunction to Hobby Lobby, preventing the Obama administration from enforcing the Obamacare abortion-drug mandate against the Christian-run company while the case is in progress.
The case brought by Hobby Lobby is just one of dozens pending in courts now over the Obamacare demand that employers provide abortifacients to their employees – irrespective of whether such actions violate the employers’ beliefs.
The Becket Fund, which is representing the company, said the court found there is a “substantial public interest in ensuring that no individual or corporation has their legs cut out from under them while these difficult issues are resolved.”
“The tide has turned against the HHS mandated,” said a spokesman for the organization.
Matt Bowman, senior legal counsel for the Alliance Defending Freedom, said every American, including family business owners, should be free to live and do business according to their faith.
“We commend the court’s ruling which is a victory for religious freedom and freedom of conscience,” he said. “The Obama administration claims ‘unwavering’ support for religious freedom, but the only thing unwavering is the administration’s tenacious opposition to that freedom.”
ADF also is representing a number of cases challenging the federal plan to fund abortifacients for all.
ADF is working on cases brought by Geneva College, Seneca Hardwood, Sioux Chief Manufacturing, Annex Medical, Louisiana College, Grace Schools, Grote Industries, Tyndale House Publishers, Denver manufacturer Newland, former Sen. Bill Armstrong’s mortgage company and Briscoe, which runs assisted-living centers.
Becket also represents Wheaton College of Illinois, East Texas Baptist University, Houston Baptist University, Colorado Christian University, the Eternal Word Television Network, Ave Marie University and Belmont Abbey College.
WND reported earlier this month a coalition of faith leaders – ranging from the president of the National Association of Evangelicals to an official for the Church of Scientology – reprimanded President Obama and his health care plan for infringing on the faith of employers by forcing them to provide abortion services to their employees.
“The government has neither a compelling interest nor the appropriate authority to coerce one citizen to fund or facilitate specific lifestyle choices of another,” the group says in a letter to Obama.
“If the federal government can force morally opposed individuals to purchase contraception or abortion-causing drugs and devices for a third party, what prevents this or future administrations from forcing other Americans to betray their deeply held convictions?”
Under Obamacare, employers fund the abortion, contraception and abortifacient demands of their employees under threat of federal government sanctions. The requirement is in the rules for the federal health-care program, which was written with the input of leaders of the nation’s abortion industry.
The letter came the same day the White House announced it was delaying the Obamacare mandate for businesses with more than 50 employees until after the elections in November 2014.
More than 100 prominent national religious leaders and scholars released the letter, called “Standing Together for Religious Freedom.”
It calls on the Obama administration and Congress to start respecting conscience rights and religious freedom.
“Through its contraceptive coverage mandate, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services continues to breach universal principles affirmed and protected by the U.S. Constitution and other federal laws,” the letter says. “While the mandate is a specific offense, it represents a greater fundamental breach of conscience by the federal government.
“Very simply, HHS is forcing Citizen A, against his or her moral convictions, to purchase a product for Citizen B. The HHS policy is coercive and puts the administration in the position of defining – or casting aside – religious doctrine.
“This should trouble every American.”
The letter, released in both English and Spanish, was signed by National Association of Evangelicals President Leith Anderson, Bishop Gary Stevenson of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Bishop Andrew of the Russian Orthodox Autonomous Church of America, Randall Bach of Open Bible Churches, Russell Moore of the Southern Baptist Convention, Susan Taylor of the Church of Scientology, John Ashmen of the Association of Gospel Rescue Missions, Mark Tooley of the Institute on Religion and Democracy, William Estrada of the Home School Legal Defense Association, John Garvey of the Catholic University of America, David Nammo of the Christian Legal Society and dozens more religious leaders.
One of the dozens of organizations suing the government over the issue, Belmont Abbey College, said it would not follow the government’s mandates no matter what.
President William K. Thierfelder told WND: “We cannot go against our faith, and we are not going to do it. We will never accept something that is antithetical to what we believe. I think all of us have to have the commitment the martyrs [had]. Not that we are going to be martyrs, but we have to have that kind of commitment. Sometimes the faith is bolstered by persecution.”
Hobby Lobby’s status previously was before the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver.
A district court had refused to allow the injunction, and even Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor told the company owners to start paying for abortifacients for their employees, in direct violation of their faith.
But the 10th Circuit said the store company has “established a likelihood of success that their rights under this statute are substantially burdened by the contraceptive-coverage requirement, and have established an irreparable harm.”