The court decisions against Barack Obama's "abortion mandate" in the health care takeover approved by Congress and the U.S. Supreme Court are building, and now a petition has been submitted to a federal court in Michigan seeking a ban on enforcement against another company.
The request from Thomas More Law Center on behalf of Domino's Farms Corp. and owner Thomas Monaghan says if the administration plan is allowed to be implemented Jan. 1, it will violate the U.S. Constitution.
The mandate requires that employers pay for abortion-inducing drugs, contraception and sterilization through health insurance plans or pay massive fines. It also demands that employers educate their workers about the use of the drugs.
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This all is regardless of what the employer's religious faith may be.
"Tom Monaghan is a staunch pro-life advocate and Catholic philanthropist," the legal team said. "His religious beliefs prohibit him from paying for abortion-inducing drugs, contraception and sterilization."
Erin Mersino, the attorney for the center who is working on the case, has asked Judge Lawrence P. Zatkoff to hear the motion as soon as possible because the mandate is to take effect Jan. 1.
The request is for a temporary restraining order that would allow the company to continue providing insurance for Monaghan's employees that does not violate his constitutionally protected rights to free exercise of religion.
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Mersino alleges the government blatantly is violating the Constitution and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993.
The restraining order request comes in a case filed Dec. 14 on behalf of Monaghan and his company. It is the second lawsuit the center has filed that challenges the mandate.
Earlier in the year, the Thomas More Law Center filed a lawsuit on behalf of Michigan businessman Daniel Weingartz and his Weingartz Supply Co, as well as the staff of Legatus, an organization of top Catholic business owners and CEOs. TMLC was successful in obtaining a preliminary injunction barring the government from enforcing the mandate against Weingartz and his company. Legatus also remains free of the mandate's requirements under the safe harbor provision.
The new request said without action on the part of the court, "the plaintiffs will be irreparably harmed as the plaintiffs' constitutional rights will be violated."
The filing points out Obama already has granted "numerous" exemptions to the requirements but has refused to do so for the plaintiffs in this case.
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The government's actions, the document alleges, proves it "cares so little about those professing Catholic beliefs that they will not be bother to address their concerns."
Either that, or the government is "patently discriminating" against those with Catholic beliefs.
A new report from LifeNews confirmed an agreement has been reached in a case in New York in which the government promised not to enforce the mandate against a group called Priests for Life.
The group also brought a complaint against Obama.
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Further, it's been argued that another court has promised not to enforce the mandate.
"The government … represented to the court that it would never enforce [the mandate] in its current form against the appellants or those similarly situated as regards contraceptive services," said an order released by U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia last week.
The three-judge panel noted the government said there will be "a different rule for entities like the appellants … and we take that as a binding commitment."
"The government further represented that it would publish a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for the new rule in the first quarter of 2013 and would issue a new Final Rule before August 2013."
The judges continued: "We take the government at its word and will hold it to it."
Dozens of lawsuits have been filed on behalf of Christian business owners, religious colleges and others. Several judges, including an appellate bench, have ordered the government not to enforce the mandate for now.
The District of Columbia appellate decision came in a case brought by Wheaton College of Illinois and Belmont Abbey College.
The lower court had dismissed the cases as premature. Now the appeals judges have reinstated the cases and have ordered the Obama administration to report back every 60 days, starting in February, until its promise for a new rule that protects the colleges' religious freedoms is in effect.
"The D.C. Circuit has now made it clear that government promises and press conferences are not enough to protect religious freedom," said Kyle Duncan, an attorney working on the case.
Dozens of Christian organizations around the country, and a number of companies, have launched legal actions over the mandate, which also now may be heading back to the U.S. Supreme Court for review after the justices ordered an appellate court to consider religious rights claims by Liberty University.
Leaders of a number of religious-advocacy groups are warning of the Obamacare contraception mandate consequences for business owners of faith:
- Larry Cirignano, president of Faithful Catholic Citizens: "Give up your religion or go bankrupt. This is not a mandate; it is an ultimatum. Buy insurance and kill babies or go bankrupt fighting us. Not all of us can afford lawyers to fight this 'mandate.'"
- Matt Smith, president of Catholic Advocate: "Aug. 1 will be remembered as the day our most cherished liberty was thrown in a government dumpster and hauled away. A day when family owned small businesses were forced to abandon their religious beliefs to provide products and services for free. And if they don't, they will be taxed and fined at a time when job creators are struggling with enough costs and bureaucratic red-tape at every level of government just to stay in business. While the courts have provided a reprieve for one family business in Colorado, the government will never be able to repair the broken conscience of thousands of others until this mandate is removed."
- Brent Bozell, chairman of ForAmerica: "August 1st is a day that will live in infamy for the First Amendment and the fundamental freedoms and rights we as a people have enjoyed since the founding of our nation. The HHS mandate imposed on the American people is the beginning of the end of freedom as America has known it and loved it. August 1st marks the day when many family owned and operated businesses lose their rights to exercise their faith in their daily lives. The government has told them – either comply with this mandate in violation of your faith and do what we tell you, or you will pay crippling faith fines to the federal government. With the stroke of a pen, the Obama administration has shredded the First Amendment and the Constitution right before our eyes."
- Grace-Marie Turner, president of the Galen Institute: "The Obama administration's assault on religious liberty is taking root … Failure to comply with the mandate will result in penalties that could cost business millions of dollars. The administration clearly did not reach a much-vaunted 'accommodation' with business owners who strongly oppose the mandate and believe it is a clear violation of their constitutional protection of religious liberty. The HHS mandate forces business owners to choose between following their religious beliefs or obedience to the federal government. The Obama administration clearly believes the government is supreme and that individuals and businesses must bow to its dictates or suffer severe consequences. We know that Obamacare is wrong for America. The HHS anti-conscience mandate is clear evidence of why the law violates the most fundamental principles upon which our country is founded."
- Gary Marx, executive director of the Faith & Freedom Coalition: "Confidence in the system and hope for religious liberty was mildly restored when a federal district judge issued a temporary injunction blocking Barack Obama's health-care mandate from compelling a business to provide insurance coverage of sterilization, contraception, and abortion-inducing drugs. This is certainly a victory, but the fact that it only applies to one company means the federal government is still going to force millions of Americans to choose between having health insurance or their conscience and faith. With an administration intent on suppressing religious liberty, we can expect a historic turnout of voters of faith show up in November."
- Penny Nance, president and CEO of Concerned Women for America: "The only solution that has been provided to the majority of Americans is to stand up and fight for their religious rights by refusing to comply or battling in court. ... We must remember the wise words of Thomas Jefferson, 'All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent.' To force religious groups to deny their deeply held convictions is not called balance; it is called tyranny."
- Jeanne Monahan, director of the Family Research Council's Center for Human Dignity: "Today as a result of this initial implementation of the HHS mandate, the relationship between the separation of church and state is critically changed. Americans can no longer follow their consciences or religious dictates on issues as critical as abortion-inducing drugs. Organizations such as Wheaton College, or businesses such as Weingartz Supply of Ann Arbor, Mich.,will be forced to violate their consciences. On this sad day Americans have no 'choice' in this matter."
- David Stevens, MD and CEO of the Christian Medical Association: "What will stop this administration, with its radical pro-abortion agenda, from further undermining conscience rights and pursuing policies that effectively force out of medicine physicians with life-honoring convictions? Who will keep government panels from effectively denying physicians and patients choice about what are the most effective and appropriate medicines, surgeries and treatments? We call on Congress to turn back this law's assault on our freedoms and restore American values and constitutional principles in health care."
- Paul E. Rondeau, executive director of American Life League: "History tragically teaches us that if our government can abolish one constitutional right, then all constitutional rights are put in jeopardy. This path sets a dangerous and foolish precedent that First Amendments rights such as freedom of speech, association, freedom of the press and the rights to assemble and petition the government may be just as easily curtailed in the future. We call on all citizens to tell their elected representatives that this erosion of rights must not stand."
- Kristin Hawkins, executive director of Students for Life of America: "Today marks the beginning of the end of religious and conscience rights in America. As an employer, I am forced to make a false choice between providing a vital service to my employees and violating my conscience and values. The abortion-pill mandate is an egregious attack upon my rights, as well as the rights of all people of values and faith in America."