Last Friday’s decision a federal judge issued an injunction that allows the owners of a private company not to provide abortifacients, contraceptives, and sterilization services to their employees as mandated by ObamaCare.
The ruling in Newland v. Sebelius is significant: it means that the Obama administration not only has to contend with Catholic non-profits who object to providing immoral services in their healthcare plans, they must deal with Catholics in the private sector who similarly object. By invoking the Freedom Restoration Act and the First Amendment religious liberty guarantees, the plaintiffs broke new ground for private employers.
Lawyers for the Obama administration were taken aback when U.S. District Judge John Kane sided with the Catholic owners of Hercules Industries. The attorneys for the government were correct when they maintained that if the injunction were granted, it would mean that they would be faced with a flood of requests seeking an exemption. “These interests are countered,” Judge Kane said, “and indeed outweighed, by the public interest in the free exercise of religion.”
The Catholic League will do what it can to get the word out to all Catholic business owners: the time to revolt is now. There is no virtue in complying with a government edict that violates the conscience rights of Catholics, independent of whether they work in the public or private sector. But there is great virtue in suing the administration by invoking the religious liberty principles as articulated in this case.