Second Plaintiff Beats Obama HHS-Abortion Mandate in Court
by Steven Ertelt | Ann Arbor, MI | LifeNews.com | 11/1/12 11:52 AM
Another plaintiff has won a court ruling against the Obama administration’s abortion pill mandate.
Federal District Court Judge Robert H. Cleland of the Eastern District of Michigan issued an opinion yesterday evening granting a motion for Preliminary Injunction that effectively halts enforcement of the HHS mandate against Plaintiffs Weingartz Supply Company and its owner and president, Daniel Weingartz.
A federal court issued an order in July in the first victory against the HHS mandate.
The Thomas More Law Center, a pro-life legal group, won the victory for the business and Erin Mersino, TMLC’s lead counsel on the case who presented the oral argument, told LifeNews: “The federal court has found that our clients have a likelihood of success and would be irreparably harmed by the unconstitutional overreaching of the HHS mandate. This is not only a victory for our clients, but for religious freedom.”
Mersino said the mandate forces employers, regardless of their religious convictions, to provide insurance coverage for abortion-inducing drugs, sterilization, and contraception under threat of heavy penalties.
In ruling for the Weingartz Plaintiffs, Judge Cleland emphasized that “[t]he loss of First Amendment freedoms, for even minimal periods of time, unquestionably constitutes irreparable injury.”
The judge added: “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.”
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Named as defendants in TMLC’s lawsuit were Obama administration officials responsible for implementation of the HHS mandate promulgated under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). Included were: Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services; Hilda Solis, Secretary of the Department of Labor; Timothy Geithner, Secretary of the Department of Treasury; and their respective departments.
Judge Cleland reiterated in his written opinion what he told both sides at the beginning of the oral augments on September 28th, namely, whatever ruling he grants, the case will continue to be litigated.
TMLC’s lawsuit challenges the constitutionality of the HHS Mandate under the First Amendment, specifically the Free Exercise of Religion and Free Speech clauses. It also claims that the HHS Mandate violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 and the Administrative Procedure Act.
Although several cases across the country challenging the constitutionality of the HHS mandate have been dismissed by federal courts on technical grounds, Judge Cleland is the second federal judge to grant a motion for preliminary injunction.
Click here to read Judge Cleland’s entire opinion.