A federal judge has agreed to grant an injunction against Obamacare’s abortion pill mandate to a popular Bible publisher.
U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton issued the temporary injunction in favor of Tyndale House Publishers of Carol Stream, Illinois today, stating that the requirement “substantially burdens” the company’s free exercise of religion.
“[The abortion pill mandate] places substantial pressure on the plaintiffs to violate their beliefs,” Walton wrote. “It places the plaintiffs in the untenable position of choosing either to violate their religious beliefs by providing coverage of the contraceptives at issue or to subject their business to the continual risk of the imposition of enormous penalties for its noncompliance.”
Mark D. Taylor, the president and CEO of Tyndale House Publishers, filed the lawsuit last month with the help of Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF). While Taylor says that he does not oppose all contraception, and will provide coverage of some birth control products to his employees, he cannot cover the two pills that he believes cause abortions — Plan B and IUD’s.
“[Tyndale is] committed to biblical principles including the belief that all human beings are created in the image and likeness of God from the moment of their conception,” the lawsuit read.
The Obama administration had opposed the injunction, claiming that the Bible publisher shouldn’t be considered eligible for an exemption because it is for-profit.
“Christian principles, prayer, and activities are pervasive at Tyndale, and the company’s ownership structure is designed to ensure that it never strays from its faith-oriented mission,” Walton declared today. “The Court has no reason to doubt, moreover, that Tyndale’s religious objection to providing insurance coverage for certain contraceptives reflects the beliefs of Tyndale’s owners. Nor is there any dispute that Tyndale’s primary owner, the Foundation, can ‘exercise religion’ in its own right, given that it is a non-profit religious organization; indeed, the case law is replete with examples of such organizations asserting cognizable free exercise and RFRA [Religious Freedom Restoration Act] challenges.”
“Bible publishers should be free to do business according to the book that they publish,” said ADF Senior Legal Counsel Matt Bowman following the issuance of the injunction. “The court has done the right thing in halting the mandate while our lawsuit moves forward. For the government to say that a Bible publisher is not religious is startling. It demonstrates how clearly the Obama administration is willing to disregard the Constitution’s protection of religious freedom to achieve certain political purposes.”
Both sides will now continue to present briefs to the court as they further argue the case.