Video: Catholic deacon files suit against HHS mandate

posted at 10:01 am on February 7, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

Via Deacon Greg, this puts a new spin on the question of religious exemptions to the HHS contraception mandate.  The Obama administration claims it has solved the problem by extending religious exemptions to churches, and now religious-affiliated non-profits.  But what happens when an ordained minister owns a for-profit company?  And what if just three years ago, the same ordained minister was hailed worldwide as a hero for the rescue of trapped miners in Chile? KSTP and KAAL-TV, ABC affiliates in Minnesota, profile a new lawsuit filed by Greg Hall, a deacon in Houston who owns a Minnesota mining-equipment manufacturer:

Greg Hall, a Roman Catholic church deacon in Houston, owns American Manufacturing Company in St. Joseph and filed a federal suit Tuesday evening, saying the contraception mandate violates his religious freedom. …

Hall says his religious beliefs will not allow him to obey the Affordable Care Act’s mandate to offer contraception and abortion pills.

His attorney, Erick Kaardal, says the mandate violates the Religious Freedom & Restoration Act, which says the government is not supposed to pass laws that create a substantial burden on peoples’ religious freedoms.

Hall, who teaches moral theology as part of his duties as a deacon of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, says the mandate conflicts with his religious and moral beliefs.

Be sure to watch to the end, when the anchors express alarm that this may affect “women throughout the state … over 900,000, according to Planned Parenthood.”  How? By not forcing companies like American Manufacturing to distribute birth control for free?  Again, a 20-year CDC study on unplanned pregnancy showed that 99% of sexually-active women wishing to avoid pregnancy managed to find their own birth control all on their little lonesomes without Big Daddy Government forcing people to supply it, and that a lack of access to it didn’t even figure into the causes of unplanned pregnancy in any statistically significant way.

The Constitution protects the right of people to live a life consonant with their religious beliefs.  It doesn’t say that government can trump that for “free” birth control.  Hall’s case will make for an interesting test.


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