Breaking News: D.C. Court of Appeals finds that HHS Mandate compromises religious liberty

This encouraging news just arrived in my inbox, about a court decision released this afternoon. The source is CatholicAdvocate.com, one of many entities monitoring the court cases challenging the HHS mandate’s violation of the First Amendment.

Friday afternoon, the District of Columbia Court of Appeals – the second most influential court in America after the Supreme Court – ruled 2-1 in favor of two Catholic business owners challenging the Obamacare mandate requiring them to provide their 400 employees with health insurance that includes contraception.

According to a statement from Judge Janice Brown, “The burden on religious exercise does not occur at the point of contraceptive purchase; instead, it occurs when a company’s owners fill the basket of goods and services that constitute a health care plan.”

Judge Brown also expressed that “it is clear the government has failed to demonstrate how such a right – whether described as noninterference, privacy, or autonomy – can extend to the compelled subsidization of a woman’s procreative practices.”

Religious organizations have praised the ruling, but it is expected the Supreme Court will take up an appeal of this case and make a final ruling on the constitutionality of the mandate.

Take that into your weekend. This is good news not only for the Catholic business owners directly involved in this particular case, but Americans of any religion who find themselves subject to Obamacare’s mandate that we all pay for Sandra Fluke’s pills so she can get them at no charge.

That’s what this mandate is about, as I’ve written time and again and again: suppressing women’s fertility is a “preventive” service that must be provided with no co-pay under the terms of Obamacare, and this is supposed to override First Amendment rights of people who don’t see women as broken creatures who need fixing at public expense.

I’ve lost count of the court challenges to the mandate that are now pending. The Supreme Court will wind up deciding this, and I don’t have confidence that the First Amendment will prevail there. It prevailed today, though, for one case in one court. That’s a good day’s work.

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