In a major victory for the First Amendment right to religious freedom, a federal judge has ruled in favor of Catholic Benefits Association (CBA) members, issuing declaratory relief and a permanent injunction against the Obamacare CASC (contraception, abortifacient, sterilization, and related counseling) Mandate. The ruling also eliminates $6.9 billion in fines that have accumulated against CBA members.
The judgment means that the government cannot force Catholic employers who are members of the CBA to provide the mandate CASC coverage. The decision also declares the Mandate is illegal as applied to CBA members. While an injunction stops the federal government from enforcing the CASC Mandate against CBA members, the declaratory judgment speaks directly to the illegality of what the federal government has been trying to do to CBA members for years. The court stated that the federal government “violated RFRA (Religious Freedom Restoration Act)” by trying to coerce members into providing CASC services.