A federal judge grants almost 200 evangelical ministries relief from the Obamacare abortion mandate while their cases proceed through the courts.
The Becket Fund announced the ruling calling it an early Christmas present that came just more than a week before the January 2014 deadline that would have forced the ministries to either abandon their beliefs about the sanctity of life or face crippling fines.
The class-action lawsuit against the Affordable Care Act's contraceptive mandate include all the non-exempt religious organizations providing health benefits through GuideStone Financial Resources of the South Baptist Convention and are included in the courts protection.
Attorneys are calling the ruling released Friday a tremendous victory for the ministries and for religious freedoms.
"This is an overwhelming victory for GuideStone and the nearly 200 plaintiffs in this class-action lawsuit," said Adèle Keim, Legal Counsel for The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, and attorney for GuideStone. "For over 200 years, Baptists in America have stood for religious liberty for all. Today's ruling will allow hundreds of Baptist ministries to continue preaching the Gospel and serving the poor this Christmas, without laboring under the threat of massive fines." The Becket Fund is co-counsel on the case with Locke Lord LLP and Conner & Winters LLP.
The class-action group of 187 ministries was represented by lead plaintiffs Reaching Souls International and Truett-McConnell College. Reaching Souls International trains pastors and cares for orphans in Africa, India, and Cuba. Truett-McConnell College is a Georgia Baptist college.