Obama HHS Abortion Mandate Suffers Massive Defeat, Can’t Force Catholic Employers to Fund Abortions

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Mar 28, 2018   |   2:16PM   |   Washington, DC

The Obama HHS abortion mandate has suffered another massive defeat.

After the Obama Administration put it in place and attempted to force Christians across the country to fund abortion drugs in their employee health care plans, it faced major lawsuits from organizations like Little Sisters of the Poor to businesses like Hobby Lobby. Now an association of Catholic employers is the latest organization to win a victory in court against the Obama administration’s abortion agenda.

The Obamacare Health and Human Services (HHS) mandate forcing Catholic non-profits to provide coverage for abortion-inducing drugs was dealt a lethal blow by U.S. District Court Judge David Russell. He issued a permanent injunction stopping the federal government from enforcing the mandate against the Catholic Benefits Association (CBA). He also issued a declaratory judgment, holding that the mandate was illegal and asserting it violated the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

The ruling also eliminates $6.9 billion in fines that have accumulated against CBA members.

The judgment means that the government cannot force Catholic employers who are members of the CBA to cover abortions. The decision also declares the Mandate is illegal as applied to CBA members. While an injunction stops the federal government from enforcing the CASC Mandate against CBA members, the declaratory judgment speaks directly to the illegality of what the federal government has been trying to do to CBA members for years. The court stated that the federal government “violated RFRA (Religious Freedom Restoration Act)” by trying to coerce members into providing CASC services.

“This is the tremendous win,” said Douglas G. Wilson, the CBA’s Chief Executive Officer. “The first freedom in the Bill of Rights is the First Amendment right to freedom of religion. The court has rightly ruled that employers should not be forced to violate their beliefs and cover morally problematic elective and often low-cost choices that individuals may wish to make.”

Russell ruled that his decision is permanent. The court’s injunction binds not only the current administration but future administrations, protecting CBA members from any other regulation in the future that tries to use the “women’s preventive services mandate” to force CBA members to violate their conscience.

Catholic League president Bill Donohue also commented on the pro-life victory.

“Catholic employers who belong to the CBA are now free from attempts by the federal government to coerce them into providing morally offensive healthcare coverage. This is a smashing victory for religious liberty and a stunning defeat for the pro-abortion industry and its allies,” he told, LifeNews.

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The CBA represents over 1,000 Catholic employers, including 60 dioceses and archdioceses, as well as many religious orders, colleges and universities, hospitals, and other ministries. Baltimore Archbishop William Lori chairs the CBA; serving with him are six other archbishops. Douglas G. Wilson is the CEO of the organization.

Four years ago, the CBA challenged the Department of Health and Human Services’ mandate (HHS mandate) in the district court claiming that the mandates were in direct conflict with the teachings of the Catholic Church.

Two federal lawsuits were filed in 2014 by the Catholic Benefits Association (CBA), a membership association that represents over 1,000 Catholic employers. The goal was to protect Catholic employers from federal government mandates that sought to force Catholic employers to violate their sincerely held religious beliefs – a goal that was achieved with this month’s ruling.