Sunday, November 24, 2013

New HHS ruling said strongest yet on citing religious freedom concerns business owners across the country have filed suit in federal courts seeking relief from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services mandate that requires nearly all employers to provide abortion-inducing drugs, sterilizations and contraceptives to their employees in their company health plan.

A decision was handed down Nov. 8 by a three-judge panel of the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago in suits brought by members of the Grote family in Madison, Ind., and the Korte family in Highland, Ill.

 According to Richard Garnett, a University of Notre Dame law professor, the decision goes further in exploring various legal questions involved in the mandate suits than in previous decisions involving the mandate.

Judge Diane Sykes wrote the majority opinion in the 2-1 decision. Garnett, who teaches constitutional law, is an expert on religious liberty questions and has written widely on the topic.

Sykes cited two of Garnett's legal journal articles on religious liberty in her opinion.

She also used an analogy of the government denying the right of a kosher deli to follow Jewish dietary laws as a way to understand that businesses owners can exercise their religious freedom in how they run their businesses.

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