It took more than four years, but a legal battle has ended in victory for Christian organizations that wish to operate according to their beliefs.
A federal district court issued an order Tuesday that permanently prevents the federal government from enforcing the Affordable Care Act's abortion-pill mandate against six Christian organizations represented by Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF).
The order also declares that the mandate violates the organizations' rights protected by the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA).
"Religious organizations have the freedom to peacefully operate according to their beliefs without the threat of punishment by the government, (and) Tuesday's order fully affirms that freedom and provides permanent protection from the mandate," says ADF attorney Gregory Baylor. "The government has a lot of other ways to ensure access to these items without forcing people of faith to violate their deepest convictions."
The abortion-pill mandate began under the Obama administration and forced most employers, regardless of their religious or moral convictions, to provide abortion-inducing drugs, sterilization, and contraception through their health plans under threat of heavy penalties.
The current administration's Department of Justice did not defend the mandate.
The six organizations—Association of Christian Schools International, Samaritan Ministries International, Taylor University, Indiana Wesleyan University, Asbury Theological Seminary, and ADF—specifically object to providing coverage for abortifacients.