Hercules Industries–a firm owned by a Catholic family, the Newlands—had argued that the mandate would force the owners either to violate their consciences or to suffer severe financial penalties. Judge John Kane agreed, saying that the government’s interest in a health-insurance program “are countered, and indeed outweighed, by the public interest in the free exercise of religion.”
Below the fold is a look at the left’s screwy skewed view of this victory for American liberty.
The court’s injunction applies only to Hercules Industries. The firm had argued that without an injunction, it would have been obliged to begin covering contraceptives for its 265 employees on August 1, when its new health-care plans went into effect.
The religious right has won its first victory against the Obama administration’s requirement that private insurers cover contraception. A federal judge issued an injunction today exempting the Catholic owners of a Colorado company from the requirement — a move that suggests they’ll prevail in their argument that the mandate violates religious freedom.
Until now, other challenges brought against the requirement — part of the Affordable Care Act’s provision that preventative care be covered and without a co-pay — have either been delayed or dismissed on the grounds that it hasn’t yet gone into effect. The most visible plaintiffs have been religiously affiliated institutions, such as universities and hospitals, that don’t fall under the narrow religious exemption for the rule. But the company in Colorado — Hercules Industries, the first to get a preliminary injunction against the enforcement of the requirement — is simply an HVAC equipment manufacture, owned by Catholics who don’t want their 265 employees to get birth control coverage under their self-insured group plan.
That made Hercules a double whammy for the right: A small, family-owned business being forced by the federal government to provide contraception and “abortion-inducing drugs.” (The latter part is a willful falsehood.) And of course, today, they’re already celebrating that Obama’s religious suppression has temporarily abated: As Hannah Smith, an attorney at the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which has brought some of the universities’ lawsuits against HHS, put it, “This decision portends the demise of the current Administration’s attempts to drive religious activity from the public square and confine it within the four walls of a church.”