Hercules Beats Obama Again: Court Says Company Can’t be Forced to Obey HHS Mandate

National   Steven Ertelt   Oct 3, 2013   |   5:46PM    Washington, DC

A Colorado family-owned business won again in its battle against the pro-abortion HHS mandate.

A federal court issued an order last July  halting enforcement of the Obama administration’s abortion pill mandate against Hercules Industries. Now, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit issued a decision upholding the district court’s order in Newland v. Sebelius that stopped enforcement of the Obama administration’s abortion pill mandate.

Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Legal Counsel Matt Bowman emailed LifeNews regarding Thursday’s decision.

He said: “Every American, including family business owners, should be free to live and do business according to their faith. In appealing the district court’s order that halted the mandate against Hercules, the administration sent a clear message that it wants to force families to abandon their faith in order to earn a living. That’s the opposite of religious freedom. The 10th Circuit was right to uphold the district court’s order and protect the Newland family’s religious liberty at least until the U.S. Supreme Court decides whether to extend religious freedom to similar families across the country.”

The mandate has generated massive opposition from pro-life groups because it forces employers, regardless of their religious or moral convictions, to provide insurance coverage for abortion-inducing drugs, sterilization, and contraception under threat of heavy penalties.

Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys obtained the first-ever order against the mandate on behalf of Hercules Industries and the Catholic family that owns it. The administration opposed the order, arguing, contrary to the U.S. Constitution, that people of faith forfeit their religious liberty once they engage in business.

The decision only applies to the company, and the court emphasized the ruling did not apply nationwide.

As is the case with many religious groups or employers, the mandate could subject the Newlands to millions of dollars in fines per year if they don’t abide by its requirements.

Bowman added, “The cost of freedom for this family could be millions of dollars per year in fines that will cripple their business if the Obama administration ultimately has its way. This lawsuit seeks to ensure that Washington bureaucrats cannot force families to abandon their faith just to earn a living. Americans don’t want politicians and bureaucrats deciding what faith is, who the faithful are, and where and how that faith may be lived out.”

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In his order, Senior Judge John L. Kane of the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado said that the government’s arguments “are countered, and indeed outweighed, by the public interest in the free exercise of religion. As the Tenth Circuit has noted, ‘there is a strong public interest in the free exercise of religion even where that interest may conflict with [another statutory scheme]….’ Accordingly, the public interest favors entry of an injunction in this case.”

Bowman said Judge Kane explained that the government’s “harm pales in comparison to the possible infringement upon Plaintiffs’ constitutional and statutory rights.”

Hobby Lobby is headed to the Supreme Court in one of the most-watched HHS mandate cases.

Polling data from December 2012 shows Americans support a religious exemption to the mandate.