U.S. Senator Mike Johanns (R-Neb.) today issued the following statement on the implementation of the Obama Administration's Department of Health and Human Services mandate requiring businesses provide health insurance plans offering free abortion-inducing drugs, contraception, and sterilization--regardless of religious beliefs:
"I will, along with my like-minded colleagues, support the religious organizations and employers challenging this infringement on our First Amendment Rights," Johanns said. "This issue is about religious liberty and we cannot stand idly by while the Administration infringes upon this fundamental right. No American should ever be forced to violate their conscience and religious beliefs because of an overzealous federal government."
Only non-profit religious organizations are eligible for the Administration's one-year waiver, forcing many business owners to act against their religious beliefs by providing these services without co-pay, or risk massive fines.
Last week, Hercules Industries -- a heating, ventilation and air conditioning manufacturer based in Denver, Colo. -- won a preliminary injunction in federal court against the Obama Administration's mandate. The company will not be required to pay for insurance coverage of sterilization, contraception, and abortion-inducing drugs while the lawsuit continues to work through the courts. Hercules Industries is run by a Catholic family with religious objections to the mandate, but would face potential fines of nearly $10 million a year if they stood by their beliefs in defiance of this provision in the health care law.
While the injunction is temporary and applies only to this company, Johanns said, it represents an important rebuke of this policy and holds promise for future challenges.