Obama Slapped on the Wrist by the Federal Court of Colorado
A federal district judge in Colorado, John Kane, ruled against the Obama administration’s birth control mandate last Friday. For the first time in the history of the court did the court side with its opponents when it ruled against the regulation made possible by the Affordable Care Act. The court’s ruling is not final yet, but the conservatives see it as the first step overturning the regulation permanently.
- A Temporary Injunction.
- The Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993.
- The Ruling
- The Contraceptive Rule
- What about the rights of Hercules Industries employees?
A Temporary Injunction.
The temporary injunction issued by Federal judge John Kane in Colorado, permits Hercules Industries, a family owned air-conditioning company based in the state, not to abide by the rule until the courts reach a decision on the merits of the case. The owner of Hercules Industries—William, Paul, James, and Andrew Newland, and Christine Ketterhagen—all devout Catholics, argued before the court that the mandate of the Affordable Care Act violated his religious liberties. The owner, being a devout Catholic, opposes contraception.
The Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993.
Judge John Kane, a Carter appointed Federal Judge, believed that Hercules raised serious enough questions about the validity of the mandate under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act to be given temporary injunctive relief. The 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act states, that the law says the government may not “substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion” — that laws that clash with religious freedoms be justified by compelling government interest and be narrowly tailored to meet that interest.
The temporary injunctive relief applies only to Hercules Industries.
In his opinion to the court, John Kane wrote, “This injunction is, however, premised upon the alleged substantial burden on Plaintiffs’ free exercise of religion — not to any alleged burden on any other party’s free exercise of religion. It does not enjoin enforcement of the preventive care coverage mandate against any other party.” You can read the complete court ruling in pdf form by clicking here. Makes for some very interesting reading.
The Contraceptive Rule
Numerous entities have unsuccessfully sued to block the contraception rule which will take effect next week. The rule when it goes into effect will requires employee health insurance plans to cover contraception for women without co-pays, along with other preventive services. It exempts houses of worship, and grants religious nonprofits a one-year extension along with the freedom to pass the cost of the birth control to the insurance company. If nothing else the temporary injunctive relief ordered for Hercules Industries portends a lengthy series of court battles that may end up in the Supreme Court.
What about the rights of Hercules Industries employees?
Do I agree with the court's ruling...No! Absolutely not! So what if the Newland and Ketterhagen clans are devout Catholics who oppose all forms of contraception, what rights do they have to force their beliefs on all of their employees? Do they only hire devout Catholics who feel exactly as they do? If that be the case then they are in violation of the Equal Opportunity Employment act which forbids discrimination in hiring based on religious beliefs. No one should have the right or authority to deny anyone affordable health care—preventive as well as remedial. Contraception should be an individual choice and not made for them by an employer or the courts.