Thomas Aquinas College wins lawsuit against HHS contraceptive mandate
On Friday, December 20, Judge Amy Jackson of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia agreed that the HHS Contraceptive Mandate substantially burdened Thomas Aquinas College's exercise of religion in violation of the Religious Freedom and Restoration Act. Therefore, Judge Jackson entered summary judgment on behalf of the College and issued a permanent injunction against the U.S. Government from enforcing the mandate in its current form.
Judge Jackson found that because Thomas Aquinas College self-insures, the challenged regulations could force the College to take steps to facilitate access to contraceptive and abortifacient services. Since the College testified that access to such services is contrary to its
Catholic principles, the Court found that the regulations substantially burden the College's free exercise of religion, and thus issued the permanent injunction.
Judge Jackson states in her ruling:
"In the case of a self-insured entity like Thomas Aquinas, the newly enacted regulations fall short of the mark. Since the accommodation imposes a duty upon the religious organization to contract with a willing third-party administrator that will arrange for the payments for contraceptives, they compel the organization to take affirmative steps - to do something - that is in conflict with the tenets of its faith. And therefore, defendants are enjoined from enforcing the mandate against
Thomas Aquinas College."
The College's co-plaintiffs in the lawsuit were denied relief from the Court and are appealing their ruling to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.
Says Thomas Aquinas College President Dr. Michael F. McLean, "While we are delighted with Judge Jackson's ruling concerning Thomas Aquinas College in this matter, we deeply regret that our co-plaintiffs did not receive similar rulings. We stand with the Archbishop of Washington,
D.C., The Catholic University of America, and all our co-plaintiffs, and we pledge our prayers that they, too, will be successful in securing their religious liberties."
About Thomas Aquinas College
Thomas Aquinas College is a four-year, Catholic liberal arts college with a fully-integrated curriculum composed of the Great Books, the seminal works in the major disciplines by the great thinkers who have helped shape Western civilization. There are no textbooks, no lectures
and no electives. Instead, under the guidance of faculty members and using only the discussion method in classes of no more than 20, students read and discuss the original works of authors such as Euclid, Dante, Galileo, Descartes, the American Founding Fathers, Adam Smith,
Shakespeare, Copernicus, Kepler, Newton, Einstein, Aristotle, Plato, St. Augustine, and of course, St. Thomas Aquinas. Graduates consistently excel in the many world-class institutions at which they pursue graduate degrees in fields such as law, medicine, business, theology and
education. They have distinguished themselves serving as lawyers, doctors, business owners, priests, military service men and women, educators, journalists and college presidents.
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