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Court renders 'farthest reaching' injunction re: HHS mandate

Charlie Butts   ( Thursday, November 01, 2012

The federal government has lost the first round in a court battle over the Health and Human Services mandate to provide free coverage of contraceptives, abortifacient drugs and sterilizations.

The Thomas More Law Center (TMLC) filed the lawsuit on behalf of the Michigan-based Weingartz Supply Company and its owner, Daniel Weingartz, with the support of the Life Legal Defense Foundation ( see earlier story). Attorney Erin Mersino tells OneNewsNow the federal court has now issued an injunction against the mandate, saying it violates the constitutional guarantee of religious freedom.

Mersino, Erin (TMLC)"Basically the court went through every step of the analysis and said that it was unclear that the government had a compelling interest in the HHS mandate in promoting women's public health," Mersino reports.

The mandate forces employers, regardless of their religious convictions, to provide the coverage or suffer crippling penalties. Judge Robert Cleland said in his ruling: "The loss of First Amendment freedoms, for even minimal periods of time, unquestionably constitutes irreparable injury."

But Mersino explains that is not the final word in the case.

"Essentially this is then the farthest reaching injunction so far rendered from the court, because this injunction will last during the entire duration of the legal proceedings," the TMLC attorney explains. "I would imagine at this point the Department of Justice is considering appealing the matter."

At least 39 federal lawsuits have been filed against the HHS mandate.

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