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DC appeals court rules new contraception rule must be issued


MICHELLE BAUMAN

Source:
CNA
Type:
Media/Opinion
Date:
12/19/2012

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ABSTRACTDC appeals court rules new contraception rule must be issued :: 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 DC appeals court rules new contraception rule must be issued By Michelle Bauman Washington D.C., Dec 19, 2012 / 04:30 pm ( CNA/EWTN News ) .- Religious freedom advocates applauded a federal appeals court’s decision to hold the government accountable for revising its controversial contraception mandate. Kyle Duncan, general counsel for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, called the decision “a win not just for Belmont Abbey and Wheaton, but for all religious non-profits challenging the mandate.” “The D.C. Circuit has now made it clear that government promises and press conferences are not enough to protect religious freedom,” he said in a Tuesday statement responding to the ruling. On Dec. 18, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals said that it will hold the government responsible for following through on its promises to issue a proposed revision of the federal contraception mandate for objecting religious organizations by March 2013. The mandate requires employers to offer health insurance plans that cover sterilization and contraception, including some drugs that may cause early abortions. Exemptions to the mandate were only granted to a small number of religious employers that meet the government’s requirements of existing to teach religious values and primarily hiring and serving members of their own faith. After a wave of protest from non-exempt individuals and organizations, the government announced a one-year “safe harbor” to delay the enforcement of the mandate against objecting non-profit religious groups. It said that it would create an “accommodation” for their religious freedom during this time. However, critics have said that the early suggestions put forth by the Obama administration are inadequate. And while the plan for an accommodation was announced in February, the government has not yet issued its formal proposal with the details of the new rule, and its promise to create one was not legally binding. More than 40 lawsuits have been filed against the mandate, drawing split rulings from district courts. Among for-profit businesses that are not protected by the safe harbor period, four out of six have been granted a preliminary injunction blocking the mandate from being enforced against them. Several lawsuits filed by religious non-profit groups – including Belmont Abbey and Wheaton Colleges – were dismissed by district courts as premature because of the government’s promise to amend the mandate. However, a federal judge in New York determined on Dec. 6 that a case by the local archdiocese was mature despite the government’s promise, noting, “There is no ‘Trust us changes are coming’ clause in the Constitution.”  In making its Dec. 18 decision, the appeals court observed that the government had said during oral arguments that it would “never” enforce the mandate in its current form against morally objecting religious institutions. “There will, the government said, be a different rule for entities like the appellants,” the court noted, “and we take that as a binding commitment.” The judges also pointed to the government’s statement that it would issue a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for the new rule by the end of March 2013 and would publish the Final Rule before August 2013.  “We take the government at its word and will hold it to it,” they said, ordering the Obama administration to report back every 60 days on the progres.......