Courts have consistently ruled that it's in the state's interest to override religious objections when it comes to life-and-death issues, said Eric Kniffin, an attorney for the Catholic Benefits Association. The group says it's committed to "providing life-affirming health coverage consistent with Catholic values."
For example, courts have upheld the right of doctors to provide emergency care to a child, even if the parents have religious objections to medical care.
"Our law already knows how to deal with those situations, and it will," Kniffin said. "There's no real fear that this is opening up a Swiss-cheese situation where the government isn't able to protect employees under these other circumstances."
Kniffin is leading a lawsuit for nearly 200 Catholic organizations and employers, including archdioceses, which object to the contraception coverage requirements of the Affordable Care Act. A federal judge has granted an injunction exempting the Catholic groups from fines or penalties for not providing such coverage while their objections are argued in court.
Federal 'workaround' not acceptable to many employers
Other federal lawsuits have targeted the "workaround" procedure created by the Obama Administration under which insurance companies will provide contraception coverage to workers without the employer's participation, as long as the employer fills out a short form affirming their religious objection to providing contraception.
Just days after its Hobby Lobby ruling, the Supreme Court issued a temporary injunction allowing Wheaton College, a Christian liberal arts college in Illinois, to refuse to comply with the workaround.
Wheaton's objection is that the workaround doesn't eliminate employers' moral culpability for a practice they oppose, Kniffin said.
"In order to be exempt, we have to instruct to assign the legal duty to do someth
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