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Colorado Catholic Business Wins Temporary Relief against Contraception Coverage
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On Friday, U.S. District Judge John Kane in Denver temporarily blocked the federal government from enforcing the birth-control mandate against the religious owners of Hercules Industries Inc. The catholic owned company is a private manufacturer of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning equipment. The temporary relief means that for now, any Colorado business owned by a Catholic family may seek permission not to comply with the new contraception coverage mandate.

Lawyers for the Department of Health and Human Services argued that even the temporary exemption would interfere with the government’s ability to implement the law, but the judge did not buy their arguments. Judge Kane said, “This harm pales in comparison to the possible infringement upon the (Newland family’s) constitutional and statutory rights.” The judge also noted that the government had created numerous exceptions for religious employers and helped exempting over 190 million health plan participants.

Kane said that the law posed an imminent harm to the owners of the company by forcing them to support things which are contrary to their religious beliefs, including contraception, sterilization and abortion. Hercules company, which challenged the portion of the Affordable Care Act, 2010, provides a self-insured group plan for its 265 full-time employees which does not cover birth control, sterilization, or abortion-inducing drugs.

  
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Kathleen Sebelius, the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services said, “This lawsuit was not brought by a religious organization. Rather, it was brought by a for-profit commercial enterprise whose purpose is to sell HVAC equipment.” She added that healthcare decisions should be between women and their doctors, not their employers.

The lawyer for Hercules, Matthew Bowman said, “Every American, including family business owners, should be free to live and do business according to their faith.”

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