The legal fight over Obamacare’s abortion-pill mandate has become more complicated.
A federal judge in Texas has issued a preliminary injunction to protect Pastor Chuck Swindoll’s Insight for Living Ministries organization from its requirements while a federal appeals court has ruled the law didn’t violate the religious rights of several Catholic organizations.
The issue is whether or not the federal government can require an employer to provide abortion-causing drugs even if it violates their religious rights.
The Supreme Court already has ruled that the government cannot order owners of closely held companies to provide the drugs.
The Swindoll case is one of more than 100 lawsuits filed over the birth-control mandate by religious organizations who have the same complaint.
Matthew Kacsmaryk, deputy counsel for Liberty Institute, which is representing Insight for Living, called the preliminary injunction issued by Magistrate Judge Don Bush “an important victory for faith-based ministries that seek to provide life-affirming health-care insurance for all their employees.”
He said Swindoll’s group “believes it is a religious imperative to provide health-care insurance and defend unborn human life.”
He argued that under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, the federal government cannot force a religious group “to choose between these two religious beliefs.”
However, a three-judge panel of the District of Columbia Circuit Court recently ruled the rights of several Catholic non-profit organizations were not violated by the Obamacare requirement.
In April, a federal judge in Denver issued a temporary injunction blocking enforcement of the birth-control mandate on Dr. James Dobson’s non-profit evangelical group.
Dobson fiercely defended his stance in a commentary.
“I believe in the rule of law, and it has been my practice since I was in college to respect and honor those in authority over us. It is my desire to do so now. However, this assault on the sanctity of human life takes me where I cannot go. I WILL NOT pay the surcharge for abortion services,” he wrote.
Dobson said the amount of the surcharge is irrelevant.
“To pay one cent for the killing of babies is egregious to me, and I will do all I can to correct a government that lies to me about its intentions and then tries to coerce my acquiescence with extortion. It would be a violation of my most deeply held convictions to disobey what I consider to be the principles in Scripture. The Creator will not hold us guiltless if we turn a deaf ear to the cries of His innocent babies. So come and get me if you must, Mr. President. I will not bow before your wicked regulation.”
Already, Obamacare has been challenged three times before the Supreme Court. The first time the court ruled the law constitutional by defining its penalties for non-compliance as taxes. The second time, the justices struck the requirement to fund abortion for owners of closely held companies. Pending is a complaint arguing the administration is violating the law’s requirement that subsidies be granted for people on state exchanges, not the federal exchange. Nearly three dozen states have refused to set up exchanges.
Analysts say a ruling based strictly on the language of the law could gut Obamacare’s foundation.