Just days before the Supreme Court is scheduled to consider the biggest case against the HHS abortion mandate that is a part of Obamacare, a lower court is forcing the Catholic television station EWTN to obey it.
U.S. District Court Judge Callie V.S. Granade of Mobile, Alabama issued an opinion yesterday denying EWTN Global Catholic Network protection from the government mandate that it must provide coverage of contraception, abortion-inducing drugs and sterilization as part of its employee health care coverage.
“We are extremely disappointed with the decision reached by the court in this case,” said EWTN Chairman and CEO Michael P. Warsaw in an email to LifeNews.
He added: “The opinion issued is clearly inconsistent with the decisions reached in nearly all of the cases decided to date. The fact that the court has dismissed the serious issues of conscience and religious freedom that EWTN has raised is very troubling.”
“As an organization that was founded to uphold the teachings of the Catholic Church, we do not believe that contraception, abortion-inducing drugs and voluntary sterilization should be defined as health care. We simply cannot facilitate these immoral practices,” said Warsaw. “We have no other option but to continue our legal challenge of the mandate,” Warsaw continued. “We are making an immediate appeal to the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta.”
EWTN filed its original lawsuit in February 2012 after the government issued the first set of rules for the mandate. That first suit was dismissed on technical grounds by Federal Judge Sharon Lovelace Blackburn of Birmingham in March 2013.
“Alabama has a proud history of protecting our First Freedom,” said Attorney General Strange. “We have been honored to continue that tradition by standing with EWTN and protecting rights of conscience for all Alabama citizens, and we will continue to support EWTN as it appeals the district court’s disappointing decision.”
“This decision is out of step with the overwhelming majority of decisions in similar cases nationwide,” said Lori Windham, Senior Counsel at the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which filed both lawsuits on EWTN’s behalf. “Over 80% of cases have protected religious objectors from this mandate.”
The Supreme Court decision in the monumental Hobby Lobby case against the abortion mandate in Obamacare is expected either this week or next.
The Obama administration says it is confident it will prevail, saying, “We believe this requirement is lawful…and are confident the Supreme Court will agree.
The Supreme Court is also taking the case of the Mennonite cabinet makers forced to pay for birth control and abortion-causing drugs.
A December 2013 Rasmussen Reports poll shows Americans disagree with forcing companies like Hobby Lobby to obey the mandate.