The original deadline for compliance by all employers with the HHS mandate to provide abortion-inducing drugs, contraception, and sterilization on employee insurance plans is 1 August, 2012. The administration extended that deadline for a year for some religious employers who don’t meet the mandate’s extremely narrow definition of “religious.” As Cardinal Dolan so aptly put it:
In effect, the president is saying we have a year to figure out how to violate our consciences.
But secular employers and insurance companies have no such grace period. They will be forced to figure out how to violate their consciences as soon as this August 1st. One such employer, Hercules Industries of Denver, has engaged the Alliance Defense Fund to sue the government. Hercules will be forced to comply with the HHS mandate as of 1 November, 2012, because that is when their health insurance plan will be renewed.
As a news release from the Alliance Defense Fund states,
Hercules owners William Newland, Paul Newland, James Newland, and Christine Ketterhagen, and its vice-president, Andrew Newland, are practicing and believing Catholics. They desire to run the company, an HVAC manufacturer, in a manner that reflects their sincerely held religious beliefs, including their belief that God requires respect for the sanctity of human life.
This case is worth watching. The courts will probably act more quickly on this case than on the many cases brought by religious organizations and employers (Belmont Abbey College, EWTN, Priests for Life, and many more), because those latter cases won’t be forced to comply for over a year.