Wednesday, May 25, 2016

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Catholic Education Daily


Christian College Secures Victory over HHS Mandate

hhsLast week, a federal court ruled in favor of Louisiana College in its suit against the HHS mandate which requires employers to provide insurance coverage for contraception, sterilization and abortion-inducing drugs, according to the Christian News Network. The decision ruled that the mandate violated the college’s religious freedom.

“Plaintiff has shown … that the challenged regulations substantially burden its religious exercise, and Defendants have failed to show that the challenged regulations are the least restrictive means of advancing a compelling government interest,” said Judge Dee Drell, chief U.S. district judge for the Western District of Louisiana.

The college was represented by Alliance Defending Freedom, and senior counsel Kevin Theriot reportedly responded positively to the decision. “Every American should be free to live and do business according to their faith. The government shouldn’t punish people of faith for following their beliefs when making decisions for themselves or their organizations,” he said in the report. “All Americans should oppose unjust laws that force people—under threat of punishment—to give up their freedom to live and work according to their beliefs.”

Allied attorney and co-counsel Mike Johnson, the dean of Louisiana College’s Pressler School of Law, is also reported to have stated, “This mandate leaves religious employers with no true choice: either comply and abandon your religious freedom and conscience, or resist and be punished.”

According to LifeSiteNews, the Obama administration had contended that the lawsuit ought to be dismissed, pointing to “a notice it issued in March about a proposed rulemaking process that would require insurers rather than employers to provide abortion pill coverage.” Louisiana College responded by issuing a brief, stating that the notice “does not make that proposal or explain how it will work … The [notice] therefore is not a concrete proposed rule that ‘if made final, would significantly amend’ the Mandate.”

The Louisiana College decision comes in the wake of the U.S.Supreme Court’s 5-4 ruling in favor of Hobby Lobby in June and several decisions granting temporary relief to such nonprofits as Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN), Wyoming Catholic College, a Cheyenne diocesan school and the evangelical Christian Wheaton College. A total of 28 universities, 40 religious charities, 15 dioceses, and many companies have taken legal action to oppose the HHS Mandate. The Obama administration also promised in July to “augment” the mandate’s “accommodation process” within the next month.

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