Attorneys for the Department of Justice have appealed a court order that handed a temporary reprieve to Hercules Industries, allowing the Colorado Company not to comply with the Obama administration's controversial contraceptive mandate.
HHS argued that the Colorado company should not be granted an exemption because it would undermine the government's goal of improving women's health. If the government is successful in their appeal, Hercules would be required to offer the insurance coverage this year.
"In filing its appeal, the administration sent a clear message that it wants to force families to abandon their faith in order to make a living," said Matt Bowman, an attorney for Alliance Defending Freedom. "That's the opposite of religious freedom."
In July, a U.S. District Court said the heating and cooling company based in Denver could avoid what has been known as the contraceptive mandate where insurance companies must pay for contraceptive and abortion-inducing drugs.
Hercules Industries, a private company owned by the Newlands, who are Catholic, sued Health and Human Services in the case known as Newland v. Sebelius, arguing that the mandate violates their religious freedom.
In the initial decision, Judge John Kane said the company would "suffer imminent irreparable harm" due to the "extensive planning involved in preparing and providing its employee insurance plan."
Critics of the government's appeal contend that the move is nothing more than a strategy to make sure no negative news on the Hercules case or the HHS mandate comes out prior to the election as not to embarrass the administration.
Interestingly, the Colorado House of Representatives honored Hercules Industries last month for its many contributions to the community and its employees after the city and county of Denver backed out of a similar proclamation because of the business' success in court.
After the original mandate was issued by President Obama, the administration changed its position slightly, saying that certain entities such as religious hospitals and nonprofits would not have to comply with the mandate but that their insurance companies would still be responsible for the coverage.
The issue also gave rise to an unknown Georgetown Law student by the name of Sandra Fluke after she was criticized by talk radio host Rush Limbaugh for testifying that she should have her birth control given to her by the government or private insurance companies.
However, this lawsuit is not the only one the government is currently dealing with. Presently, HHS and DOJ are facing 30 religious freedom lawsuits because of the mandate from both faith-based organizations and private businesses nationwide. Retailer Hobby Lobby is the largest and latest business to file suit over the issue.
Bowman argues that family business owners should be allowed to live and conduct their business according to their personal faith.
"Every American, including family business owners, should be free to live and do business according to their faith," said Bowman. "The Obama administration claims 'unwavering' support for religious freedom, but this appeal demonstrates that the only thing unwavering is the administration's tenacious opposition to that freedom."