DENVER (CNS) — A U.S. District Court in Denver issued a permanent injunction March 16 in favor of a Colorado-based heating and cooling company owned by a Catholic family that stops enforcement of the federal contraceptive mandate.
Hercules Industries was the first business to obtain a preliminary injunction and now “has achieved final victory in its lawsuit,” said Alliance Defending Freedom, whose attorneys are representing Hercules Industries and its owners, the Newland family.
As part of the federal Affordable Health Care Act, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services requires employers, including most religious employers, to cover contraceptives, sterilization and some abortion-inducing drugs free of charge in their health care plans, even if the employer is morally opposed to such services.
The mandate has a narrow exemption that applies only to those religious institutions that seek to inculcate their religious values and primarily employ and serve people of their own faith. It does not include a conscience clause for employers who object to providing such coverage.
Because the Catholic Church prohibits the use of contraceptives, abortifacients and sterilization, the Newlands sued to avoid having to provide that in employee health insurance.
“This proposed arrogation of authority offends the very structure of our government, and ignores the exclusive jurisdictional authority of the United States District Court to provide such relief,” the court wrote in its ruling.
“Notwithstanding (the Obama administration’s) suggestion to the contrary, the injunction is entered under the jurisdictional authority of the United States District Court and it remains in full force and effect unless and until modified or dissolved by the District Court upon a showing of just cause or by order entered by the court of appeals following review,” it said.
The U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado handed down the decision in Newland v. Burwell.