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U.S. District Judge Callie Granade ruled in Mobile that the Obama administration may compel the Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN) to comply with a provision furnishing female employees with contraception, sterilization, and abortion-inducing drugs, because the network does not directly supply the services.“The mandate, as it was enacted, does not violate the Constitution,” she ruled. "EWTN doesn't have to comply with the mandate. All it has to do is sign a form certifying its opposition to the use of contraceptives and then deliver that form to its third-party administrator," she continued.The Obama administration's health care “accommodation” requires employers to certify their religious objections, but their insurance company must then offer female employees birth control pills for “free.” Critics say the move is nothing more than an accounting gimmick, but Judge Granade found the distinction compelling."Thanks to the accommodation that allows religious nonprofits to opt out of the mandate, EWTN is free to continue refusing to cover the allegedly abortion-inducing drugs without suffering any discrimination for making that choice,” wrote Judge Granade, who was appointed to the bench in 2002 by President George W. Bush.According to the network's attorney, Lori Windham of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, “This decision is out of step with the overwhelming majority of decisions in similar cases nationwide.”More than 300 plaintiffs have filed 100 lawsuits against the controversial HHS mandate. Judges have granted injunctions in 40 of the 46 cases led by non-profits to date, a victory rate of more than 80 percent.“The fact that the court has dismissed the serious issues of conscience and religious freedom that EWTN has raised is very troubling,” Michael P. Warsaw, CEO of the EWTN Global Catholic Network, said Wednesday morning.
Isn't the same question up before the Supreme Court?