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MANILA, Jan. 3, 2012—Another employer in the United States has succeeded in moves to stop enforcement of “Obamacare” 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.
Dominos Pizza founder Tom Monaghan won the bid for an emergency order to stop enforcement of the heavily opposed mandate, which requires employers to pay for health insurance that covers contraception, sterilization and abortion-inducing drugs or else suffer stiff penalties. 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, Atty. 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.”
First petition filed against RH law in Philippines
In the Philippines, life advocates continue the crusade to oppose its own government’s version of a coercive measure signed into law on Dec. 21 last year. Less than two weeks after President Benigno Aquino III affixed his signature on the reproductive health (RH) bill, now Republic Act (RA) 10354, lawyers James and Lovely-Ann Imbong filed a petition with the Supreme Court to declare the measure null and void.
The couple, who filed the petition on behalf of their minor children and joined by Catholic school Magnificat Child Development Center Inc., cited Article 12, Sec. 2 of the Constitution, which recognizes the State’s duty to protect the family, the life of mothers and their unborn children, and to support the primary right of parents in rearing their children.
According to the Constitution, “The State recognizes the sanctity of family life and shall protect and strengthen the family as a basic autonomous social institution. It shall equally protect the life of the mother and the life of the unborn from conception. The natural and primary right and duty of parents in the rearing of the youth for civic efficiency and the development of moral character shall receive the support of the government.”
“The Act introduces policies that negate and frustrate the foundational ideals and aspirations of the sovereign Filipino people as enshrined in the Constitution.
“This case will present the illegality of the Act as it mocks the nation’s Filipino culture–noble and lofty in its values and holdings on life, motherhood and family life–now the fragile lifeblood of a treasured culture that today stands solitary but proud in contrast to other nations,” the petition stated.
Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa, Local Government Secretary Manuel Roxas II, Budget Secretary Florencio Abad, Health Secretary Enrique Ona, and Education Secretary Armin Luistro were named respondents in the 27-page petition.
The petition embodies an effort to “reclaim our moral culture–a culture that all other countries have begun to lose way ahead of us. And anybody can join us in this new battle,” Atty. James Imbong said after filing the petition Wednesday. (CBCP for Life)