EWTN v. Burwell

UPDATE: On February 4, 2015, the Eleventh Circuit heard Oral Argument in this case. On June 30, 2014, the Catholic network won emergency relief from the Eleventh Circuit, http://www.becketfund.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/11-Circuit-icon-e1404238801477.pngprotecting EWTN’s right to freely practice its faith. 

Thirty years ago, a cloistered nun named Mother Angelica started a small television network in her monastery garage to spread the teachings of the Catholic Church.

Today, the network she started, Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN), is suing the federal government for the right to remain faithful to those teachings. Government officials are trying to force the nun’s network to authorize and take part in their scheme to provide contraceptives, sterilization, and abortion drugs to EWTN’s employees.

EWTN, which is now run by lay Catholics, refuses to play a part in the government’s plan to provide contraceptive services and for drugs that destroy human life.

On October 28, 2013, the state of Alabama joined the Becket Fund’s lawsuit on behalf of EWTN, defending its citizens’ right to religious freedom. In June 2014, an Alabama district court ruled against EWTN, just days before the non-profit network was due to face millions of dollars in IRS fines. The Becket Fund filed an emergency appeal to the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, and the Court took the rare step of granting emergency relief. EWTN is now protected from IRS fines while its case proceeds before the Eleventh Circuit. Oral Argument was heard on February 4, 2015.

For more information, or to arrange an interview with one of the attorneys, please contact Melinda Skea, Communications Director, at mskea@becketfund.org or call 202.349.7224.


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