DENVER, March 29, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Social conservative leader Dr. James Dobson will not be forced to insure abortion-inducing contraceptives through his nonprofit organization, a federal judge ruled this week.
For five years, Dobson has been fighting the so-called Affordable Care Act’s (better known as Obamacare) mandate for employers to cover abortion-inducing drugs in their insurance plans, the Colorado Springs Gazette reported. He won a temporary injunction in 2014, but the case went on until this week, when U.S. District Judge Robert Blackburn issued a permanent injunction on behalf of the El Paso-based Dr. James Dobson Family Institute and “Family Talk” radio show.
“The plaintiffs face potential irreparable harm in the form of violation of their rights under RFRA (the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act) unless an injunction is issued,” Blackburn wrote. “The threatened injury to the plaintiffs outweighs the harm the injunction may cause the opposing parties. Relevantly, the defendants have not identified or cited any such harm.”
Specifically, the ruling exempts Dobson from having to subsidize “devices, procedures, or related education and counseling that may destroy human life after fertilization of the egg of a mother either before or after the implantation of a fertilized egg in the uterus of its mother.”
“The assault on religious freedom launched against us and those who share our values has finally been repelled,” Dobson said in a statement, CBN News reported. “We are grateful to God and to our supporters for standing with us as we fought for all those like us.”
“Because of this ruling, every religious institution — not just ours — has greater legal standing to combat the threats of extinction unless they provide a health plan that includes abortion-inducing drugs,” he continued. “In addition, precedents are now set in the law that will make it much harder for governments, whether federal, state, or local, to attempt to so brazenly disregard our religious liberties in the future. Yet, it is still true that the price of liberty is determined vigilance.”
Pro-lifers hoped Obamacare’s infringements on their freedom of conscience would end with Donald Trump’s election to the White House. But while the current president has taken several actions to protect religious liberty and specifically provide relief from the contraception mandate, in January two federal judges issued injunctions keeping the mandate alive. But pro-lifers hope this latest ruling will help change the current legal precedent.
“Religious organizations have the freedom to peacefully operate according to their beliefs without the threat of punishment by the government. Tuesday’s order fully affirms that freedom,” said Gregory Baylor, senior counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), which represented Dobson, adding that Dobson’s ministry “is no longer required to fill out forms authorizing coverage for abortion-inducing drugs.”
The Gazette noted that Blackburn’s ruling follows a ruling in December by U.S. District Judge Philip Brimmer, who permanently barred the mandate from being imposed on ADF as well as two other Christian groups and three religious colleges.