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Contraceptive mandate halted for Ala. broadcaster EWTN

Image: MGN Online

Image: MGN Online

ATLANTA (AP) — A federal appeals court has temporarily barred the federal government from forcing a Catholic broadcasting network in Alabama to comply with a law requiring them to cover contraceptives for women.

Eternal Word Television Network, which has studios in Irondale, a Birmingham suburb, is appealing a federal judge’s order from last week dismissing its lawsuit, which maintained that requiring employers to include contraception in their health care coverage is unconstitutional.

“This has been a very good day for religious liberty in America,” said EWTN Chairman & Chief Executive Officer Michael P. Warsaw in a statement posted on EWTN.com. “The Supreme Court decision in the Hobby Lobby case was a great affirmation of the constitutional right to freedom of religious expression. While the Hobby Lobby decision did not directly resolve EWTN’s case, this afternoon’s injunction from the appellate court allows us to press forward without facing the government’s crushing fines.

“As we have said repeatedly, contraception, abortion-inducing drugs and voluntary sterilization are not health care and the government should not force EWTN to provide them as part of our employer-sponsored health plan.

A three-judge panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta issued an order Monday barring enforcement of the requirement pending the outcome of the network’s appeal.

In granting an injunction, the 11th Circuit cited the U.S. Supreme Court opinion Monday that says corporations can hold religious objections that allow them to opt out of the new health law requirement.

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