Federal Court Upholds Religious Freedom Against Abortion Coverage Mandate

The Thomas Moore Society has won permanent protection for Autocam Medical, LLC, protecting its religious freedom to decline to provide abortion or contraceptive group insurance coverage for employees.

Yesterday concluded a long legal battle that took Autocam all the way up to the United States Supreme Court, which sent the case back down to the lower courts. The District Court for the Western District of Michigan declared Autocam free from having to comply with Obamacare’s so-called “abortion pill mandate,” as decreed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”).

Judge Robert J. Jonker, who initially had ruled against Autocam when the lawsuit was first filed over three years ago, now ruled that, in light of last summer’s U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark Hobby Lobby ruling, this family-owned business may not be required “to provide its employees with health coverage for contraceptive methods, sterilization procedures, and related patient education and counseling to which plaintiff objects on religious grounds.”

John Kennedy, CEO of the Michigan-based company, along with other family member owners of Autocam, have always held that the government has no right to require that Autocam purchase group insurance coverage, providing its employees with morally objectionable contraceptives, including abortifacients and sterilization. Prior to the government’s implementation of the controversial mandate, Autocam had specifically designed a health insurance plan with Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Michigan to exclude contraception, sterilization, abortion, and abortion-inducing drugs, in keeping with its owners’ deeply held religious beliefs.

The Kennedys faithfully embrace the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church that contraception, abortion, and sterilization are serious wrongs. The Obamacare HHS mandate tried to force Autocam’s owners to flout their deeply held religious convictions and to operate their company in a manner that they sincerely held to be gravely wrong.

By Religious Freedom Coalition –

Court rules Michigan has no responsibility to provide quality public education

DETROIT — In a blow to schoolchildren statewide, the Michigan Court of Appeals ruled on Nov. 7 the State of Michigan has no legal obligation to provide a quality public education to students in the struggling Highland Park School District.

Highland Park parent Michelle Johnson, a plaintiff in the ACLU lawsuit against the state of Michigan, says students deserve a fair education. Johnson says students deserve a fair education.

A 2-1 decision reversed an earlier circuit court ruling that there is a “broad compelling state interest in the provision of an education to all children.” The appellate court said the state has no constitutional requirement to ensure schoolchildren actually learn fundamental skills such as reading — but rather is obligated only to establish and finance a public education system, regardless of quality. Waving off decades of historic judicial impact on educational reform, the majority opinion also contends that “judges are not equipped to decide educational policy.”

“This ruling should outrage anyone who cares about our public education system,” said Kary L. Moss, executive director of the American Civil Liberties of Michigan. “The court washes its hands and absolves the state of any responsibility in a district that has failed and continues to fail its children.”

The decision dismisses an unprecedented “right-to-read” lawsuit filed by the ACLU of Michigan in July 2012 on behalf of eight students of nearly 1,000 children attending K-12 public schools in Highland Park, Mich. The suit, which named as defendants the State of Michigan, its agencies charged with overseeing public education and the Highland Park School District, maintained that the state failed to take effective steps to ensure that students are reading at grade level.

From The Michigan Citizen –