President Obama’s health care initiative again strikes against an unlikely recipient, Eternal Word Television Network has lost an appeal in the Federal Court that compels it to provide contraceptive options to employees as part of the network’s health care plan. The 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled 2-1 against the network’s request for exemption from the contraception mandate imposed by the Federal Government’s health plan.

While the feisty and often blunt Franciscan Sister is no longer at the helm of the worlds largest religious programming network, the networks Chairman and CEO, Michael Warsaw has expressed disappointment of the court’s ruling.

“We are disappointed in the court’s refusal to protect our religious freedom,” EWTN Chairman and CEO Michael Warsaw said.

“We simply want to continue to practice the same faith we preach to the world every day,” he said in a Feb. 18 statement. “We are prayerful and hopeful that, if necessary, the Supreme Court will correct this critical error.”

The Federal Government’s health plan requires that employers offer contraceptive options, pharmacological treatments that could induce spontaneous abortions and elective sterilization as part of the health insurance offered to all employees. Despite the fact that EWTN is a Catholic organization, the ruling was made without distinction towards Catholic beliefs and moral teachings.

Additionally, the law imposes substantial monetary penalties if an organization defies the requirements of the Federal health plan. In explaining its ruling the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals determined, that EWTN faced no substantial burden in following the laws directives. If the Catholic network fails to comply with the ruling they could be forced to pay 12.5 million dollars a year in fines and penalties, approximately $35,000 dollars per day.

The ruling of the 11th Circuit Court has been suspended until the national health care plan’s constitutionality is heard before the Supreme Court in March. Regardless, the ruling, forces EWTN into a position that is complicit  with wrong doing, and as a result acting against the precepts of the Catholic Church, the organization whose teachings the network represents.

Clearly, the Obama Health Plan, now the law of the land imposes burdens of significant fiscal and ethics implications that are just beginning to emerge as a result of the law’s mandates. Catholics unilaterally should be disturbed, not just because the Obama health care plan imposes restrictions on Catholic employers, but because it compromises the free exercise of Catholic moral and ethical norms of living that are compromised by the unjust nuances of the law. This initiative engineered by President Obama is a direct limitation on Catholics and other religious groups from their religious freedom of expression and the convictions of their theological lifestyles. Obama Care is a direct violation of our Constitutional rights as elaborated in the Bill of Rights and should be overturned by the Supreme Court of the United States.

The failure of the 11th Circuit Court of the United States to exempt Eternal Word Television Network from the obligations of the health care law that are contrary to Catholic teachings clearly indicate the need for Catholics to lobby against the law and loudly demand an expedient resolution to the vacancy on the high court after the death of Justice Scalia. Religious organizations all over the United States are critically compromised by the Obama Health Care Law and most threatened by rulings of U.S. District Courts that ignore the need for exemptions based on religious beliefs. Government intrusion into religious freedoms set the stage for more rulings against Catholic religious freedoms and indeed introduces another, “slippery slope,” of moral ineptitude on the part of the Obama Administration.

While the ruling of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court has been suspended until the issue is reviewed by the Supreme Court, the moral and ethical issues associated with Obama Care are the real issues at stake for Catholics and other denominations. The health care requirement that requires access to contraceptive options of all natures that block the transmission of human life are in direct violation of the Catholic teachings on birth control as set forth by Humanae Vitae by  Blessed Pope Paul VI. This proclamation of Blessed Pope Paul VI’s is an implicit proclamation of the Church’s ex cathedra teachings that are infallible and binding on all Catholics.

While the Obama Plan instructs and mandates compliance from Eternal Word Television Network and organization similar to it, ALL Catholics should recognize this as a diminishing effect on religious freedom and the free exercise of our faith as Catholics. It is an attach on not only natural law, but ethical and moral norms which are held true as Catholics, namely that ALL human life is sacred, from it’s inception to the grave.

The implications and direct injustices presented against Catholic religious freedoms are numerous as a direct result of Obama Care. Catholics, make your voices loudly heard in protest to this ignominious health care plan that penalizes a network like EWTN from promoting and practicing their religious beliefs. If Catholics are complacent and do not protest against the injustices of the

President’s health care law, Mother Angelica’s counsel, quoted above might indeed be considered a prophetic voice of things to come.

Respect Life…in all its forms! Rejoice in the Lord always…not in the unjust laws of the Obama Administration.


Freelance author, teacher and technology consultant…Hugh McNichol has studied both theology and philosophy at Philadelphia’s Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary and holds a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy. Hugh holds a M.A. in theology from Villanova University and is continuing work towards his doctorate in sacred theology(STD).
His writings promote deeper understanding of the Catholic faith, while hoping to provide topics of good discussion among all Catholics.


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