(Reuters) - A divided federal appeals court has temporarily barred the U.S. government from requiring an Illinois company to obtain insurance coverage for contraceptives, as mandated under the 2010 healthcare overhaul, after the owners objected on religious grounds.
More than 40 lawsuits are challenging a requirement in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that requires most for-profit companies to offer workers insurance coverage for contraceptive drugs and devices and other birth control methods.
Friday's 2-1 order by a panel of the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago in favor of Cyril and Jane Korte was the second by a federal appeals court to temporarily halt enforcement against people who said it violated their faith, said Edward White, a lawyer for the Roman Catholic couple.
The 7th Circuit suggested that the couple's legal challenge might eventually prevail.
Its order came two days after U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor declined to block the provision's enforcement against companies controlled by the family of Oklahoma City billionaire David Green.
The U.S. Department of Justice, which had defended the contraceptives provision, did not immediately respond on Saturday to a request for comment.
The Kortes, who own the construction firm Korte & Luitjohan Contractors, had sought to drop a health insurance plan for 20 non-unionized workers that included coverage for contraception, and substitute a different plan consistent with their faith.
Read this story at reuters.com ...
Breitbart, roundup of other sources
“We must obey God rather than men!”—Acts 5:29
Now that Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor has denied Hobby Lobby’s application for an emergency injunction protecting them from Obamacare’s HHS Mandate on abortion and birth control, Hobby Lobby has decided to defy the federal government to remain true to their religious beliefs, at enormous risk and financial cost.
Hobby Lobby is wholly owned and controlled by the Green family, who are evangelical Christians. The Greens are committed to running their business in accordance with their Christian faith, believing that God wants them to conduct their professional business in accordance with the family’s understanding of the Bible. Hobby Lobby’s mission statement includes, “Honoring the Lord in all we do by operating the company … consistent with Biblical principles.”
The HHS Mandate goes into effect for Hobby Lobby on Jan. 1, 2013. The Greens correctly understand that some of the drugs the HHS Mandate requires them to cover at no cost in their healthcare plans cause abortions.
Today Hobby Lobby announced that they will not comply with this mandate to become complicit in abortion, which the Greens believe ends an innocent human life. Given Hobby Lobby’s size (it has 572 stores employing more than 13,000 people), by violating the HHS Mandate, it will be subject to over $1.3 million in fines per day. That means over $40 million in fines in January alone. If their case takes another ten months to get before the Supreme Court—which would be the earliest it could get there under the normal order of business—the company would incur almost a half-billion dollars in fines. And then of course the Supreme Court would have to write an opinion in what would likely be a split decision with dissenters, which could easily take four or six months and include hundreds of millions of dollars in additional penalties.
This is civil disobedience, consistent with America’s highest traditions when moral issues are at stake. The Greens are a law-abiding family. They have no desire to defy their own government. But as the Founders launched the American Revolution because they believed the British government was violating their rights, the Greens believe that President Barack Obama and Secretary Kathleen Sebelius are commanding the Greens to sin against God, and that no government has the lawful authority to do so.
The Christian tradition of defying government commands to do something wrong goes back to the very birth of Christianity. When the apostles were ordered not to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with anyone, the Book of Acts records: “Peter and the other apostles replied: ‘We must obey God rather than men! The God of our fathers raised Jesus from the dead—whom you had killed by hanging him on a tree.’”
Eleven of the twelve apostles—including Peter—would lose their lives for the sake of spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ; only the apostle John died of old age. They were determined to obey God’s will at all costs.
This issue of civil disobedience is never to be undertaken lightly. The Bible teaches Christians to submit to all legitimate governmental authority (e.g., Romans 13:1), and so a person can only disobey the government when there is no other way to obey God.
But here in America, the Constitution is the Supreme Law of the Land, and in its First Amendment it protects against a government establishment of an official religion and separately protects the free exercise of religion. On top of that, Congress passed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 (RFRA) to specifically add an additional layer of protection against government actions that violate a person’s religious beliefs.
The HHS Mandate is a gross violation of the religious beliefs of the Green family. The issue before the courts here is whether the Greens religious-liberty rights include running their secular, for-profit business consistent with their religious beliefs. In other words, is religious liberty just what you do in church on a Sunday morning, or does it include what you do during the week at your job?
The Greens are now putting their fortunes on the line to do what they believe is right. The courts should side with them, affirming a broad scope of religious liberty under the Constitution and RFRA. And the Supreme Court should resolve this matter with dispatch in their favor.
Millions of Christians across the country feel exactly the same way as the Greens. The Obama administration has issued a statist command that is a declaration of war on people of faith who object to abortion, and civil disobedience could break out all over the country unless the courts set this matter right—and quickly.
WASHINGTON – An attorney for Hobby Lobby Stores said Thursday that the arts and crafts chain plans to defy a federal mandate requiring it to offer employees health coverage that includes access to the morning-after pill, despite risking potential fines of up to $1.3 million per day.
Hobby Lobby and religious book-seller Mardel Inc., which are owned by the same conservative Christian family, are suing to block part of the federal health care law that requires employee health-care plans to provide insurance coverage for the morning-after pill and similar emergency contraception pills.
The companies claim the mandate violates the religious beliefs of their owners. They say the morning-after pill is tantamount to abortion because it can prevent a fertilized egg from becoming implanted in a woman's womb.
Read more here ...
[Editor's note: There is no such thing as a "fertilized egg." Once an egg is fertilized it is no longer an egg. It is a human being. It is a nascent human person who is being blocked from implantation, and therefore sustenance, by these drugs. It's the moral equivalent of starving your three year-old, or your grandmother, to death.]
Citizen Media reporting at its finest
Posted on Friday, March 23, 2012 by ottbmare
Today tens of thousands of Americans gathered in 140 cities to peacefully protest the "HHS Mandate". This recent mandate of the US Department of Health and Human Services requires religious institutions and faithful employers to provide insurance coverage of contraceptive drugs and devices, sterilization services, and abortion-producing drugs, even if this coverage is anathema to them. The mandate levies crushing fines on any institution that attempts to opt out of paying for such coverage. Catholics, Protestants, Orthodox Jews, and Muslims are all strongly opposed to providing coverage of such services, and since HHS and the Obama Administration have been absolutely adamant that they would not change this provision of Obamacare, these protests were organized.
In DC, the protest was held directly in front of HHS headquarters, where presumably Kathleen Sibelius and her minions could not be unaware of it. Organizers anticipated a few hundred demonstrators, but counted 1300 before they began the rally. In the unseasonably pleasant spring sunshine, families gathered with babies and older children; nuns, priests, and monks came to watch and pray; determined individuals brought large American flags, smaller signs, and splendid banners. Blacks, whites, Hispanics, and Asians were represented, and both Catholics and Protestants came to show support. With their signage, their prayers, and their massed voices, all proclaimed one message: We will not comply!
The principal speaker was Presbyterian minister Patrick Mahoney, the rally captain and organizer for DC. What a motivating, high-energy speaker he is!
Other speakers included--
--the splendid, electrifying Star Parker, a former welfare mother who stopped living a dissolute life and became a Christian speaker, broadcaster, and writer
--Dr Milton Lee, a Korean pastor who had flown in from Seoul to thank America for her friendship
--a truly electrifying black preacher who had some serious warnings for our stubborn, unChristian president about facing Christ when he dies
--the beautiful Lila Rose, who spoke against abortion from the perspective of one who had survived an attempt to abort her
--Father Marcel Guarnizo, a holy priest, a conservative, and a brilliant scholar.
I want particularly to note the concluding remarks of Father Marcel. Many of you will have heard of the recent controversy about him, when his gentle and quiet refusal to give the elements of Communion to an openly practicing lesbian created an international media firestorm. His quietly adamant position about this finally caused the gay-sympathizing Archdiocese of Washington to punish him, withdrawing his faculty to operate as a priest in the DC area. He has been in seclusion since the incident at the end of February, and this rally was his first public appearance since then. It was a risk, for his absolute dedication to the cause of Christ has brought unbelievable hatred as well as grave threats from liberals and gays.
Nevertheless, this courageous little man would not allow threats to silence him. He gave a closely-reasoned speech which made no appeal to emotion, but discussed our Constitution and the First Amendment. The crowd was spellbound as he created his case: that this matter is not just about healthcare, or contraception, or even abortion, but about the existence of the United States as a Constitutional republic. For in depriving us of our religious freedom and compelling us to subsidize a culture of death, the Obama Administration removes every freedom, in the manner of a totalitarian government. If this stands, he says, we have resigned all our freedoms and will be living under a totalitarian government.
In addition to the 15 Catholic bishops scheduled to speak at Nationwide Rally for Religious Freedom locations, countless other influential speakers from all walks of life will also be addressing rallies throughout the country this Friday, March 23.
The speakers at the more than 130 Rally sites represent a wide array of backgrounds and professions, including members of Congress, physicians, college presidents, pastors, radio hosts, law professors, heads of organizations, publishers, religious sisters, pregnancy resource directors, and rabbis.
The New York City Rally will feature several big names, including Alveda King, niece of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and pastoral associate of Priests for Life; Fr. Benedict Groeschel, Msgr. Philip Reilly, and Mother Mary Agnes Donovan, Superior General of the Sisters of Life.
Continue reading ...
By Terence P. Jeffrey
All student health care plans covering female college students in the United States must include coverage for free voluntary sterilization surgery, the Department of Health and Human Services announced late Friday afternoon. Women of college age who do not attend school will also get free sterilization coverage whether they are insured through an employer, their parents, or some form of government-subsidized plan.
Read this story at cnsnews.com ...
"We the People
"...that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom...”
-- Abraham Lincoln