The U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado granted a preliminary injunction against the federal government from enforcing the HHS mandate on the Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS,), Catholic News Service reported.
FOCUS, a non-profit Catholic organization which employs more than 400 people, is a campus-based outreach program that brings Jesus Christ and the Catholic Church to students at colleges and universities. FOCUS is currently on 83 campuses in 34 states—including faithful Catholic colleges such as Franciscan University of Steubenville and Mount St. Mary’s University, as well as secular institutions such as Harvard University and Temple University.
The lawsuit, which was filed by Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), challenged the HHS mandate because it requires religious institutions to provide insurance coverage for contraceptives, abortifacients, and sterilization procedures.
"If the administration can punish Christian ministries simply because they want to abide by their faith, there is no limit to what other freedoms it can take away," Michael J. Norton of the ADF reportedly said. "The court was right to block enforcement of this unconstitutional mandate against FOCUS."
The American Civil Liberties Union had weighed in with a brief on the side of the government, attempting to argue that the mandate does not violate FOCUS’ religious freedom and it simply allow women to have “full control of their reproductive lives and to decide whether and when to have children.”
Several Catholic colleges have filed suit against the HHS mandate and received preliminary injunctions. The University of Notre Dame is a notable exception as it did sue but failed to acquire injunctive relief.
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