Court Blocks Enforcement of Contraception Mandate against Ministry of Dr. James Dobson

James Dobson's Family TalkLast week, a federal district judge granted a preliminary injunction to Dr. James Dobson’s Family Talk, blocking enforcement of the Obama administration’s contraception mandate against Dr. Dobson and his radio show and ministry.

“Judge [Robert E.] Blackburn wrote a powerful statement, which even used pro-life language, (i.e., referring to a ‘human fetus.’),” shared Dr. Dobson in a letter to supporters Monday.

“He defended my right to follow the dictates of my conscience. It was eloquent,” Dr. Dobson added.

Last December, attorneys with NRB member organization Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) filed a federal lawsuit against the Obama administration on behalf of Dr. Dobson and Family Talk, which would have been required to provide abortifacients, including the morning after pill, starting on May 1.

“After that, if we hadn’t prevailed, fines amounting to $800,000 per year would have kicked in,” Dr. Dobson reported. “We would have closed our doors.”

Judge Blackburn, however, concluded that Family Talk has a "substantial likelihood" of winning its legal challenge.

“In America, we don’t try to separate what people do from what they believe,” remarked ADF Senior Counsel Kevin Theriot. “Faith-based organizations should be free to operate according to the faith they teach and live out every day. If the government can fine Christian ministries out of existence because they want to uphold their faith, there is no limit to what other freedoms it can take away. The court was right to block enforcement of this unconstitutional mandate against Family Talk.”

According ADF, the contraception mandate is losing 56-7 in court so far. At least 23 related cases are still working their way through various states.

A decision from the U.S. Supreme Court, meanwhile, is expected by the end of June. In a Resolution passed earlier this year, the NRB Board of Directors urged the Supreme Court to uphold the free exercise rights of Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties, which had their day before the Supreme Court last month. The Board also called on NRB members “to pray for the Justices of the United States Supreme Court that they may render just decisions which provide constitutionally sound and robust protections for the exercise of religious freedom in America.”

In addition, NRB’s Office of General Counsel filed an Amicus Curiae (“Friend of the Court”) brief in the high court case arguing for appropriate “breathing room” for religious freedom.

Published: April 24, 2014