EWTN, the Catholic programming network, has been granted an injunction from the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals preventing the government from enforcing the HHS contraceptive services mandate.
The decision came the same day the Supreme Court ruled in the Hobby Lobby case that the Obamacare contraception mandate when applied to "closely held" corporations violates the law, though the court did not get to the First Amendment issues raised by the mandate. (http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/13pdf/13-354_olp1.pdf).
A U.S. District judge on June 17 had ruled that EWTN was subject to the mandate that it provide coverage of "contraception, abortion inducing drugs and sterilization" as part of its employee health care coverage," according to EWTN.
While the Supreme Court decision in Hobby Lobby didn't resolve the EWTN case, the network said, it "recognizes that business owners don’t give up their religious freedom when they start a business.”
The injunction means EWTN does not face the $35,000-per-day fines for not adhering to the mandate, which would have been levied starting July 1, said EWTN. The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty represents both Hobby Lobby and EWTN, as well as others in the dozens of lawsuits filed against the contraception mandate.
“This has been a very good day for religious liberty in America,” said EWTN Chairman Michael P. Warsaw. “The Supreme Court decision in the Hobby Lobby case was a great affirmation of the constitutional right to freedom of religious expression."
EWTN filed its original lawsuit in February 2012, but that was dismissed on technical grounds. It filed a second lawsuit in October 2013 against the DHS and agencies. The State of Alabama joined EWTN as a co-plaintiff in the new suit.