contraception, HHS Mandate, Religious Freedom

Will The Battle be Won

aclj

In the battle against the Government with regards to the Health and Human Services (HHS) mandate
requiring employer-sponsored health care plans to provide ready and free access to contraceptives,
abortion-causing drugs, and sterilization, it seems as though the battle will never be won. But progress is
being made on the behalf of religious-based employers across the country. These employers have been
seeking injunctions against the mandate, part of the Affordable Care Act, allowing them to opt-out of
the requirements on religious grounds. For many Christian employers, providing access to
contraceptives violates their deeply-held religious standards – standards by which many of them run
their businesses.

The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) has been leading the fight for these employers as they
seek protection from the mandate. The issue is not the legality of the mandate, it is the enforcement of
the mandate and the fines that may be levied against a business for non-compliance. The ACLJ
recognizes that forcing a religion-based employer to violate their beliefs in order to meet the
requirements of a government mandate violates that employer’s First Amendment rights, which
guarantee freedom of religion. In requiring employers to violate their religious beliefs, or face a fine, the
HHS mandate is telling those employers that their religious beliefs do not matter, and that their
Constitutional rights are no longer valid.

To date, employers and groups, such as the ACLJ, have been met with moderate success in their bid to
maintain their religious freedoms. But not all cases have turned out in favor of the employers. Several
smaller employers, and even some obviously religious organizations – such as groups of Catholic nuns –
have seen their requests to courts across the country turned away. But none of them are giving up. As
larger entities continue to win the legal battles, smaller groups will benefit from the court rulings. At
some point, there will be an “end-all” legal case that will determine for certain that employers have the
same Constitutional rights as individuals, and that freedom of religion applies to all citizens, including
businesses run based a set of core religious beliefs.

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