At the government’s own request, a federal appellate court Friday dismissed the Obama administration’s appeal of an order that stopped the president from enforcing his abortion-pill mandate against a Bible publisher. The administration’s retreat marks the first total appellate victory on a preliminary injunction in any abortion-pill mandate case.
Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys representing Tyndale House Publishers say the administration is apparently nervous about trying to defend its position that a Bible publisher is not religious enough for a religious exemption to the mandate.
“Bible publishers should be free to do business according to the book that they publish,” says senior legal counsel Matt Bowman. “The government dismissed its appeal because it knows how ridiculous it sounds arguing that a Bible publisher isn’t religious enough to qualify as a religious employer. For the government to say that a Bible publisher isn’t religious is outrageous, and now the Obama administration has had to retreat in court.
“We will continue to argue that the administration cannot disregard the Constitution’s protection of religious freedom for all family business owners and must offer a comprehensive exemption to the mandate,” Bowman adds.
The abortion-pill mandate is a component of Obamacare that forces employers, regardless of their religious or moral convictions, to provide insurance coverage for abortion-inducing drugs, sterilization and contraception under threat of heavy penalties.
Tyndale House Publishers, based in Carol Stream, Ill., specifically objects to covering abortifacients. It is the world’s largest privately held Christian publisher of books, Bibles and digital media and directs 96.5 percent of its profits to religious nonprofit causes worldwide.
Friday’s order from U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit means the preliminary injunction issued by a district court in November of last year will stand while the case, Tyndale House Publishers v. Sebelius, moves forward.