A federal appeals court has granted an injunction blocking the enforcement of the Obamacare mandate that companies must provide insurance coverage for contraceptives and abortifacients in violation of business owners’ religious beliefs.
The ruling comes in a lawsuit involving O’Brien Industrial Holdings, a St. Louis, Missouri, company that runs businesses that explore, mine and process refractory and ceramic raw materials.
“By granting our motion, the appeals court blocks the implementation of the HHS mandate and clears the way for our lawsuit to continue – a significant victory for our client,” said Francis Manion, senior counsel of the American Center for Law and Justice. “The order sends a message that the religious beliefs of employers must be respected by the government.”
The case is significant in that it does not involve a church, Christian hospital or other explicitly religious business. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius tried before the recent election to tamp down controversy over the Administration’s violation of the First Amendment by trumpeting a religious “exemption” that didn’t satisfy most of the complainants about the original mandate.
If O’Brien Holdings is successful in its lawsuit, it could open the way for broad exemptions for any business whose owners object to the mandate on a religious basis, potentially severely cutting into Obama Administration plans for shaking down American businesses through Obamacare taxes or fines.
In October, a lower court had granted the Obama Administration motion to throw out the lawsuit, but the granting of the injunction by the appeals court overturns that previous ruling and blocks enactment of the mandate.
Frank O’Brien, the owner of O’Brien Holdings, is a Catholic and maintains that his religious beliefs provide the structure of his business, which has 87 employees. District judges in Colorado, Michigan and Chicago have upheld similar lawsuits by private businesses against the Administration.
An amicus brief filed in the O’Brien case by the Bioethics Defense Fund and Life Legal Defense Foundation claims the mandate also violates the Administrative Procedures Act by not considering important aspects of the drugs being mandated. According to the brief, oral contraceptives can increase risk of heart attack, stroke and cancer. The brief also cites dangers from intrauterine devices and surgical implants to reduce pregnancies.
Religious leaders across the country are watching this and the other cases filed against the Obamacare mandate, which essentially forces Christians, Jews and other people of strong religious values to abandon their beliefs for the sake of leftist dogma enacted by the Obamacare law.
As Larry Cirignano, president of Faithful Catholic Citizens, said: “Give up your religion or go bankrupt. This is not a mandate; it is an ultimatum.”