Files Temporary Restraining Order Against US Government’s Violation of First Amendment Rights
WASHINGTON, D.C., January 04, 2013 (Zenit.org) – Another employer in the United States has succeeded in moves to stop enforcement of the controversial HHS mandate by filing an emergency motion for a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) on the grounds of the mandate’s violation of the employer’s First Amendment religious rights.
The Health and Human Services (HHS) federal mandate requires employers of religious institutions to be legally required to pay for insurance that provides abortion-inducing drugs, contraception, and sterilization procedures to employees.
Dominos Pizza founder Tom Monaghan won the bid for an emergency order to stop enforcement of the heavily opposed mandate. The mandate, which is part of the Affordable Care Act and took effect Jan. 1, 2013, also requires employers to educate their employees on using such drugs.
The Thomas More Law Center (TMLC) filed the motion late last week and U.S. District Judge Lawrence Zatkoff ruled in favor of the motion, citing the government’s failure to “satisfy its burden of showing that its actions were narrowly tailored to serve a compelling interest.”
According to a report by LifeNews, Attorney Erin Mersino – in a strongly worded brief — accused the Obama administration of “blatant violations of Monaghan’s constitutional rights to the Free Exercise of Religion and Free Speech guaranteed by the Constitution as well as a violation of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993.”
The same report also featured a comment from lawyer and author Wesley Smith, who said, “This isn’t about birth control, but the power of the government to bulldoze freedom of religion down to a mere freedom of worship. Regardless of one’s faith or lack thereof, all who believe in American liberty should wish Monaghan well.”
Monaghan is also founder of Ave Maria University and Ave Maria Law School.
There are now 40 separate lawsuits challenging the HHS mandate, including suits from Hobby Lobby, Wheaton College, East Texas Baptist University, Houston Baptist University, Belmont Abbey College, Colorado Christian University, the Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN), and Ave Maria University.
Before Christmas, another pro-life victory took place when Priests for Life won a legal battle to get an exemption from having to comply with the mandate.
The government agreed that it “will not take any enforcement action against [Priests for Life], its group health plans, or the group health insurance coverage provided in connection with such plans, for not covering in the health plans any contraceptive services required to be covered.”
Fr. Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life, has been one of the most active and visible in leading opposition to the mandate around the country, telling Americans that “We do not adapt to injustice; we oppose it.”