Freedom of conscience has triumphed yet again in the ongoing battle against the Obama Administration’s coercive HHS Mandate—the requirement that forces nearly all employers to provide insurance coverage for life-ending drugs and devices, regardless of the employers’ consciences or religious beliefs.
Today’s victory comes in Armstrong v. Sebelius, a case initially filed in federal district court by the Armstrong family and their private Colorado business, Cherry Creek Mortgage Co. The Armstrong family believes that life begins at conception and that drugs such as ella and other so-called “emergency contraceptives” result in the wrongful taking of human life. However, under the Obama Administration’s mandate, this family-owned business will be forced to choose between providing insurance coverage for such life-ending drugs and devices disingenuously defined as “contraception” by the Food and Drug Administration, or paying prohibitive fines.
In May of this year, the district court declined to issue a preliminary injunction protecting the family and business’s consciences, meaning that they would be forced to comply with the coercive mandate while the litigation continues. However, today the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed that decision, and sent the case back to the district court for further action.
While upon further review the district court could still decide not to provide relief to the Armstrong family, today’s decision represents yet another “win” for freedom of conscience over the HHS Mandate.
To date, there are at least 67 cases and over 200 defendants challenging the HHS Mandate. Of those cases, 37 involve for-profit businesses. There have been rulings touching on the merits in 32 of those 37 cases—and courts have ruled in favor of the private businesses 26 times. While the cases, including Armstrong, are far from over, the momentum is clearly in favor of freedom of conscience.
AUL filed an amicus brief in the Armstrong appeal demonstrating that the life of a new human life begins at fertilization (conception), that “emergency contraception” has a post-fertilization effect that can prevent a new human being from implanting in the uterus, and that forcing employers to provide coverage for such life-ending drugs violates their constitutionally protected freedom of conscience.
The brief was filed on behalf of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians & Gynecologists, Christian Medical Association, Catholic Medical Association, National Catholic Bioethics Center, Physicians for Life, and National Association of Pro Life Nurses.
For more information on life-affirming healthcare, visit AUL’s unique project, Real Healthcare Respects Life, click here.