Politics & Policy

Contraception Mandate Litigation: DOJ Settles

The nuns have won. Well, not quite yet. See Update below.

So have others who opposed the Obamacare contraception mandate based on religious objections. From the National Catholic Register story:

A week after issuing new religious-freedom guidelines to all administrative agencies in the federal government, the U.S. Department of Justice has settled with more than 70 plaintiffs who had challenged the controversial HHS contraceptive mandate.

The Oct. 13 agreement was reached between the government and the law firm Jones Day, which represented more than 70 clients fighting the mandate. Made public Oct. 16, the agreement states that the plaintiffs would not be forced to provide health insurance coverage for “morally unacceptable” products and procedures, including contraception, sterilization and abortion-inducing drugs.

The settlement may go farther than the new bureaucratic rules:

Thomas Aquinas College, a Catholic college in California and another plaintiff against the HHS mandate, also celebrated the protection the settlement brings.

“While we welcomed the broadening of the exemption from the HHS mandate last week by the Trump administration, we have under our agreement today something even better: a permanent exemption from an onerous federal directive — and any similar future directive — that would require us to compromise our fundamental beliefs,” said Thomas Aquinas College President Michael McLean in an Oct. 16 statement.

“This is an extraordinary outcome for Thomas Aquinas College and for the cause of religious freedom.”

Many on the left and the NeverTrump right wonder how faithful people would vote for a man whose personal life has not lived up to the moral principles they espouse.

This is why. For many conservative and orthodox Christians, voting for Trump was an act of self defense against a prospective Clinton Administration that they feared would be utterly antithetical to religious liberty and would attempt to crush them into lifestyle submission.

In contrast, Trump made a specific appeal to this community, promising to protect their right to act in the public sphere in a manner consistent with their faith. With this settlement, he continues to keep that promise.

Update: I heard from the law firm representing the Little Sisters of the Poor. They were not a party to the settlement described herein. Hence, the DOJ has not (yet, I hope and  trust) officially dropped the case against the nuns. Sorry for the confusion.

Wesley J. Smith — Wesley J. Smith is a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute’s Center on Human Exceptionalism.

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