The Catholic media company Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN) won a reprieve late Monday from the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals in light of the Supreme Court decision in favor of Hobby Lobby. The Alabama non-profit is contesting the entirety of the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive mandate, rather than just four of the required contraceptives as Hobby Lobby was. EWTN would have had to begin paying fines for contraceptives Tuesday while it pursues its own court case.
The Eleventh Circuit's decision was unanimous and concludes by arguing that issuing an injunction will not harm the public because EWTN has never provided contraceptives in its employee health care benefits before. Taking the Hobby Lobby decision and other delays, exemptions, and grandfathered plans into account, “it cannot be that one more delay pending appeal will harm the public interest.”
The EWTN lawsuit is just one of 109 filed by for-profit and non-profit companies against the ACA mandate. Many of these cases were put on hold until the Supreme Court decision and will resume consideration again. And while the EWTN lawsuit is not over with only an injunction granted, that injunction is big and indicative of the precedent the Supreme Court has set, whether it wanted to or not.
EWTN is off to finish its suit, but some companies simply won’t bother. They will wait until they are sued, if they ever are, resting on the security they feel they have in the RFRA and new judicial precedent. For all the post facto defining the administration did of the ACA, it’s not done, and faith-based, or faithfully ran, businesses are jumping in to help change it.
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