By Roy Hayhurst, GuideStone Financial Resources
DALLAS, Texas – A final judgment was entered in favor of GuideStone last month in the litigation over the Obama-era contraceptive mandate that would have required certain ministries served by GuideStone to provide abortion-causing drugs and devices or face crippling fines. The judgment brings to a conclusion the case GuideStone filed against the federal government to protect its health plan and the ministries it serves.
The litigation, which made its way to the U.S. Supreme Court in 2016 where the justices ruled unanimously in favor of GuideStone and its co-plaintiffs, was sent back to the trial court for final disposition.
“This is an important conclusion for our case where we finally have a clear declarative judgment that says the government cannot force a church-controlled organization like GuideStone to violate its faith in the manner the previous administration attempted to do,” GuideStone President O.S. Hawkins said. “We are thankful for the prayers and support of our trustees, of the counsel we had from the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty and from others who spent tireless hours working on behalf of the unborn.”
The final judgment was a necessary step due to continued legal challenges surrounding the Trump administration’s attempts to roll back the rule.
“While the courts continue to consider challenges to the new rule, the judgment gives clarity and security for all who are served by GuideStone’s health plans,” said Harold R. Loftin Jr., GuideStone’s chief legal officer.
No ministries served by GuideStone were ever subjected to fines; a preliminary injunction granted in December 2013 had provided protection for those ministries. Churches and certain closely held ministries were exempt from the mandate from its beginning.
“This judgment occurring in this our centennial year is important as it continues to testify to GuideStone’s commitment to advocate on behalf of our participants and the churches and ministries we are privileged to serve,” Hawkins said.