EWTN responds to court ruling - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

EWTN responds to court ruling

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BIRMINGHAM - AL -

An order from a  U.S. Supreme Court justice brought a reprieve from part of the Affordable Care Act. But, will it hold?

Justice Sonia Sotomayor temporarily halted the contraceptive mandate that was set to take effect on New Year's Day.

She gave the Obama administration has until 10:00 Friday morning to respond. The justice's order gives hope to Birmingham-based Eternal Word Television Network. EWTN filed suit last year to try to stop the contraceptive mandate.

Network president Michael Warsaw believes this ruling bodes well. It certainly signals, I think, that the court sees the inherent problems with the contraceptive mandate

For Warsaw, the latest move by Supreme Court justice Sonia Sotomayor is good news.

"It's certainly good news for EWTN, it's certainly good news for the many, many other organizations who have taken issue with the contraceptive mandate," says Warsaw.

Warsaw tells me, the penalty for not complying with the mandate. Would be devastating to the network.

It would be fined one hundred dollars per day per employee. In the first year alone, that would total more than $12 million.

"It's a death penalty for organizations who choose to stand on principle, and oppose the government's intrusion into our rights of freedom of expression and freedom of religious expression specifically."

On New Year's Eve, EWTN filed a petition of its own, seeking an injunction.

Warsaw says, right now, the network still has some time remaining.

"Based on when our healthcare plan anniversary date is, we would still have a few more months before we would be subject to the mandate, but the clock is ticking and we need resolution of this sooner rather than later."

Now, Warsaw waits to see what the government's response will be.

"My hope is also that the court will look at that response and decide to take up this case for review by the supreme court."

Bishop Robert baker with the Catholic Diocese of Birmingham released a statement which reads in part, "I strongly believe that all who, due to moral and religious conviction, cannot in good conscience comply with the HHS regulation requiring coverage of sterilization and contraceptives should be similarly enjoined."

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