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Second company wins injunction against HHS mandate


MICHELLE BAUMAN

Source:
CNA
Type:
Media/Opinion
Date:
11/1/2012

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ABSTRACTSecond company wins injunction against HHS mandate :: Catholic News Agency (CNA) Editors Service About us Donate Spanish Portuguese Follow us: Loading News Headlines Vatican Americas Asia - Pacific US Europe Middle East - Africa Most Read Most Commented Archive Mandate Resources Abortion Advent Apologetics Benedict XVI Bible Cardinals Catechism Catholic Links Catholic Womanhood Church Fathers Holy Week Life & Family Liturgical Calendar Liturgy Mary Politics Prayers Sacraments Saints Virtue Tools Catholic Podcast RSS Feeds CNA TV CNA Audio Columns A Life Worth Living Answering the Tough Questions Bishops' Corner Book Reviews Both Oars In Catholic & Single Catholic Men Guest Columnist Harvesting the Fruit of Vatican II In Good Company Indispensable Economics Inside the Church during WWII Led Into the Truth Movie Reviews Preparing the way for the Roman Missal – 3rd Edition The New (& the Old) Evangelization The Spirit of the New Translation The Way of Beauty With Good Reason Your Moment in the Mass Documents Pope Benedict XVI Pope John Paul II Pope Paul VI Pope John XXIII Pope Pius XII Pope Pius XI Pope Pius X Pope Leo XIII Vatican II Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith Pontifical Council for the Family United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Cardinal James Francis Stafford Archbishop Charles J. Chaput Bishop Samuel J. Aquila Catholic Womanhood Home » News » US Second company wins injunction against HHS mandate By Michelle Bauman Judge Robert H. Cleland. CNA file photo. Ann Arbor, Mich., Nov 1, 2012 / 03:59 pm ( CNA/EWTN News ) .- A federal judge in Michigan has granted the second temporary injunction against the federal contraception mandate to plaintiffs who argue that it violates their right to freely practice their religion in business decisions. “This is not only a victory for our clients, but for religious freedom," said Erin Mersino, lead counsel on the case for the Thomas More Law Center, which is representing Weingartz Supply Company and its president Daniel Weingartz. “The federal court has found that our clients have a likelihood of success and would be irreparably harmed by the unconstitutional overreaching of the HHS mandate,” she explained in a statement. On Oct. 31, U.S. District Judge Robert Cleland granted a preliminary injunction to block the enforcement of the mandate against the family owned and operated outdoor power equipment company while the case continues to move through the court system. Weingartz, a practicing Catholic, has filed a lawsuit to challenge the Health and Human Services mandate, which requires employers to provide health insurance plans that cover contraception, sterilization and abortion-inducing drugs, even if doing so violates their consciences. In filing the lawsuit, he was joined by Legatus, a non-profit organization of Catholic business owners and CEOs seeking to live out their faith in their professional and personal lives. Both Weingartz Supply Company and Legatus currently offer employee health care plans that specifically exclude contraception, in accord with Church teaching. Neither qualifies for the strictly defined religious exemption to the mandate, which applies only to non-profit groups that exist to inculcate religious values and primarily employ and serve only members of their own faiths. In today’s decision, Judge Cleland granted the temporary injunction for Weingarts Supply Company, citing the fact that it would be required to provide the objectionable coverage starting on Jan.1, 2013. In his opinion, he acknowledged that the mandate poses a risk "of substantially infringing the sincere exercise of religious beliefs” and said that the “loss of First Amendment freedoms, for even minimal periods of time, unquestionably constitutes irreparable injury." While the Obama administration has argued that for-profit companies cannot exercise religion, Cleland pointed to a previous court ruling that a corporation can “assert the free exercise rights of its owners” when it is closely held and is “‘merely the instrument through and by which (the plaintiffs) exercise their religious beliefs.’” At the same time, Judge Cleland “denied without prejudice” the motion for a preliminary injunction for Legatus, saying that the organization does not yet need such an injunction because it qualifies for a temporary safe harbor from the mandate until Aug. 1, 2013.  The federal government has promised that during the safe harbor period, it will issue an accommodation to respect the religious freedom of non-exempt religious groups that object to the mandate. However, this process – which was started in March 2012 – is still in its early stages, and numerous religious groups have said that the suggestions put forth by the government still fail to adequately protect religious liberty. Judge Cleland directed the federal governmen.......