It’s a good day for Americans who believe in religious freedom from government tyranny. A federal judge has issued a ruling awarding $718,000 in compensation to the Catholic Benefits Association (CBA) in its almost five-year-long religious liberty battle against the Obamacare Contraceptive, Abortifacient, Sterilization and related Counseling Services Mandate (CASC).
The mandate would have forced CBA members to violate Catholic moral teaching by covering contraceptives, abortifacients and sterilization procedures in employee health plans. Failure to comply with the mandates carried draconian fines, estimated to be as much as $19 billion. The CBA filed lawsuits in 2013 and 2014 on behalf of its more than 1,000 Catholic employer members and won its federal court battle in March.
Circuit Judge David Russell’s final Declaratory Relief and Permanent Injunction issued in March validated all of CBA’s claims regarding the burden created on religious employers by the Obamacare mandates. He granted permanent injunctive relief from the mandates and any similar future efforts from the Health and Human Services Department to both current and future CBA members. Most notably, he also cited the federal government’s violation of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
In response to the most recent ruling awarding the CBA compensation, Doug Wilson, CBA’s Chief Executive Officer said, “We are proud of a result which will benefit so many in coming years. In addition to our current and future members, Americans of all faiths will benefit from the legal precedents we have achieved and from the court’s affirmation of Religious Freedom Restoration Act.”
It is clear that the Obama fines under CASC were meant to crush religious groups who opposed the governments over-reaching attempts to force them to cover contraceptives, sterilization and abortion against moral, ethical and religious objections. The Obama’s administration was actively anti-Christian, attacking religion with similar current regulations that attempt to coerce immoral actions by religious employers, including federal mandates for the provision of transgender services and insurance coverage for clinical trials that included the use of embryonic stem cells.
Hobby Lobby also won its court battle in 2014 against anti-religious health care mandates being forced on them through Obamacare when the Supreme Court ruled that the Obama administration must exempt privately held firms like Hobby Lobby from a rule requiring large companies to help pay for their employees’ birth control.
In a 5 to 4 decision, the court ruled that firms like Hobby Lobby are protected under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993. Writing for the majority, Justice Samuel Alito wrote that the contraception rule “would put these merchants to a difficult choice: either give up the right to seek judicial protection of their religious liberty or forgo the benefits, available to their competitors, of operating as corporations.”
Kathleen Sebelius, the former secretary under Obama who initiated the Health and Human Services Department’s mandates, was a darling of Planned Parenthood and an outspoken abortion activist who later came under fire from pro-life groups who say she appointed a state attorney general in Kansas who destroyed documents related to 107 criminal charges the former Kansas Attorney General, Phill Kline, filed against the abortion business.
The charges alleged that Planned Parenthood failed to report cases of child rape on children on whom Planned Parenthood did abortions, that it failed to test whether an unborn child was viable (as required by state law) before doing a late-term abortion and that it manipulated records it submitted to the state to cover up those crimes.