WASHINGTON – A federal judge has temporarily prevented the Obama administration from forcing a Christian publishing company to provide its employees with certain contraceptives under the new health care law.
U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton on Friday granted a preliminary injunction sought by Tyndale House Publishers, which doesnt want to provide employees with contraceptives that it equates with abortion.
At issue are contraceptives such as Plan B and IUDs. If a woman already is pregnant, the Plan B pill has no effect. It prevents ovulation or fertilization of an egg, and according to the medical definition, pregnancy doesnt begin until a fertilized egg implants itself into the wall of the uterus.
The Plan B pill may also be able to prevent a fertilized egg from attaching to the uterus. IUDs mainly work by blocking sperm but may also have the same uterus effect. To Tyndale, these methods are not morally different from abortion.
Tyndale, based in Carol Stream, Ill., says it provides its 260 employees with coverage for some contraceptives. The company and its president and CEO, Mark D. Taylor, filed the lawsuit against the Health and Human Services Department last month.
Walton acknowledged that the government has broad, compelling interests in promoting public health and ensuring that women have equal access to health care, but he said the question is whether the government has shown that the application of the contraceptive coverage mandate to the plaintiffs furthers those compelling interests, underlying to the plaintiffs in the text.
Nothing in Waltons order applied to anyone other than Tyndale.
The Health and Human Service Department declined to comment, citing the ongoing litigation.