Yesterday, a federal judge in Oklahoma granted a temporary health care mandate injunction to approximately 200 Catholic employers. According to the Preliminary Injunction, the employers do not have to provide coverage for contraceptives, including those that cause abortions, and are exempt from all fines and penalties.
In March, the Catholic Benefits Association (CBA) filed a lawsuit stating the Affordable Care Act violated its stance against contraceptives. U.S. District Judge David Russell said, in regards to his decision, "The harm posed to these plaintiffs absent relief is quite tangible-they will either face severe monetary penalties or be required to violate their religious beliefs."
The lawsuit is unique because it includes Catholic-owned businesses, as well as non-exempt ministries and churches, CBA says in a statement provided to MRCTV.
The CBA's general counsel, Martin Nussbaum, noted "this ruling is especially gratifying because this lawsuit, alone among the HHS contraceptive mandate cases, includes three groups of Catholic employers-"houses of worship" that are, by regulation, exempt; non-exempt ministries like colleges, Catholic Charities, and healthcare institutions; and Catholic-owned for profit businesses."
The association - which includes archdioceses, an insurance company, and a nursing home across almost 2,000 Catholic parishes nationwide - believes in the Catholic teaching that their ministries should include health care to their employees. But members "also believe in the Catholic teaching that any artificial interference with the creation and nurture of new life is wrong," Russell said.
The government's attorney, Bradley P. Humphreys (U.S. Department of Justice), declined to comment Thursday on the judge's ruling. Yesterday's decision is just one in over 100 lawsuits by profit and non-profit organizations that have filed lawsuits against the government's mandate.