Denver, Colo., Jan 29, 2015 / 16:56 pm
A federal court has permanently barred the Obama administration from enforcing the federal contraception mandate against the group of Evangelical-owned senior citizen and assisted living centers.
"All Americans should oppose unjust laws that allow the government to force people to surrender their constitutionally protected freedom to live and work according to their deepest beliefs," Alliance Defending Freedom senior counsel Michael J. Norton said Jan. 27.
Norton's legal group filed the challenge to the federal rule on behalf of Stephen W. Brisco, who owns several Colorado companies that operate senior citizen residences, assisted living centers, and skilled nursing facilities and related businesses that mange them.
Brisco, an Evangelical Christian, objected to federal mandates that he provide employees with insurance coverage for contraceptive drugs that can cause abortions.
Refusal to provide the coverage would have resulted in heavy fines.
Norton said that Americans have a "clearly protected right" to be "free from this type of government coercion at home, in their family businesses, and in non-profit endeavors that benefit everyone."
On Jan. 27 a U.S. District Court for Colorado issued a permanent injunction against the federal government from enforcing the mandate. It cited the Supreme Court's June 2014 ruling that the mandate's application to closely-held private companies like Hobby Lobby violated the 1993 federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act. The Supreme Court had said the government had not shown that the mandate was the least restrictive means of achieving its goal of providing free contraceptives to employees.
The Obama administration announced the controversial mandate in 2012. It requires employers to cover sterilization, contraception and some drugs that can cause abortions. Its narrow exemption for those with religious and moral objections to the coverage drew much criticism and prompted many legal challenges.
Norton said the Obama administration should give up what he described as "its blind and indefensible efforts to punish people of faith."