As noted last week, Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) went to federal court on behalf of Hercules Industries in Colorado in search of an injunction to stave off the Obama Administration mandate that requires almost all new health plans to cover contraception, sterilization, and abortion-inducing drugs. As of August 1, that new mandate is now in effect for most employers when they renew their employee health insurance plans.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) celebrated the day as a victory for women, but noted, “The Obama administration will continue to work with all employers to give them the flexibility and resources they need to implement the health care law in a way that protects women’s health while making common-sense accommodations for values like religious liberty.” In a blog post, Amy Payne and Sarah Torre of the Heritage Foundation responded to the HHS statement, “Religious liberty is a fundamental right guaranteed under the First Amendment of the Constitution, not a mere ‘value’ whose worth is subject to devaluation by any given Administration’s policy.”
House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) took aim at the Administration for refusing to adjust the mandate and at Senate Democrats who earlier this year stopped legislation to fix its encroachment on religious freedom:
On this day, let us renew our determination to reverse the mandate and restore the religious liberty that has been demolished by the Obama Administration’s actions. The administration's mandate stands today not because it is sound policy; not because it reflects the will of the people; not because it is consistent with the freedoms guaranteed by our Constitution. The mandate stands today because the Democratic-controlled Senate preemptively blocked legislation that would have reversed this attack on religious freedom. And it stands because the President of the United States has refused to listen to the people and institutions that built a great nation.
Late last week, ADF won a preliminary injunction for Hercules Industries against the mandate, as U.S. District Court Judge John Kane found that the Administration’s arguments were “countered, and indeed outweighed, by the public interest in the free exercise of religion.” Deliberations on this case will continue, as will debate about the mandate.
By Aaron Mercer, Vice President Government Relations
Published: August 3, 2012