Federal judge grants stay of health insurance mandate to OK Catholic employers

Federal judge grants stay of health insurance mandate to OK Catholic employers

[Ed. – Another interesting development.  Judges have been all over the map on this issue — and as the article notes, the plaintiffs in this suit include businesses owned by Catholics, and not just church or religious-organization employers.  The ruling would have obvious implications for the separate case brought by Hobby Lobby, which argues similarly that private business owners have the right to exercise moral objections to provisions of the health-insurance mandate.]

Yesterday, a federal judge in Oklahoma granted a temporary health care mandate injunction to approximately 200 Catholic employers. According to the Preliminary Injunction, the employers do not have to provide coverage for contraceptives, including those that cause abortions, and are exempt from all fines and penalties.

In March, the Catholic Benefits Association (CBA) filed a lawsuit stating theAffordable Care Act violated its stance against contraceptives.  U.S. District Judge David Russell said, in regards to his decision, “The harm posed to these plaintiffs absent relief is quite tangible-they will either face severe monetary penalties or be required to violate their religious beliefs.”

The lawsuit is unique because it includes Catholic-owned businesses, as well as non-exempt ministries and churches, CBA says in a statement provided to MRCTV.

The CBA’s general counsel, Martin Nussbaum, noted “this ruling is especially gratifying because this lawsuit, alone among the HHS contraceptive mandate cases, includes three groups of Catholic employers-“houses of worship” that are, by regulation, exempt; non-exempt ministries like colleges, Catholic Charities, and healthcare institutions; and Catholic-owned for profit businesses.”

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