On January 14, 2013, several Catholic business owners filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri under the First Amendment, the Fifth Amendment, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act ("RFRA"), and the Administrative Procedures Act ("APA"), against the U.S. ...
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On January 14, 2013, several Catholic business owners filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri under the First Amendment, the Fifth Amendment, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act ("RFRA"), and the Administrative Procedures Act ("APA"), against the U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services, Labor, and the Treasury. The plaintiffs, represented by the Alliance Defense Fund, asked the court for both declaratory and injunctive relief, alleging that federal rules adopted pursuant to the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act ("ACA") violated their religious freedom by requiring them to provide coverage for contraception through their companies' group health insurance plans. Claiming that providing contraceptive coverage would contravene their Catholic faith, the plaintiffs sought an exemption from the ACA's contraception mandate for themselves and other business owners with similar religious objections.
Plaintiffs, shareholders and operators of a manufacturing company that employed 370 people, maintained a health insurance plan that provided medical coverage to all of its employees. In accordance with the plaintiffs' religious beliefs, the healthcare plan specifically excluded abortifacient drugs, contraception, and sterilization. However, the ACA required employers with over 50 full-time employees to provide health insurance coverage that included contraception and surgical sterilization, as well as education and counseling for such services. Failure to comply with the ACA mandate resulted in a monetary penalties.
The complaint alleged that the defendants' actions in implementing the ACA coerced the plaintiffs and thousands of other individuals to engage in acts against their religious beliefs. Specifically, as Catholics, the plaintiffs opposed paying for, providing, facilitating, or otherwise supporting abortifacient drugs, contraception, or elective sterilization, which they claimed was compulsory under the health coverage requirements of the ACA. Plaintiffs alleged this violated their right to freely practice their religion, required them to fund government-dictated speech, and violated their rights under the RFRA and the APA.
On February 27, 2013, plaintiffs moved for a preliminary injunction to stay enforcement of DHS's regulations that required plaintiffs to provide insurance coverage for contraception and sterilization. Defendants did not oppose this motion, pending Eight Circuit Court of Appeals rulings on two similar cases, Annex Medical, Inc v. Sebelius, No 13-1118 (8th Cir. Feb. 1, 2013)
and O'Brien v. U.S. Dep't of Health and Human Services, No. 12-3357 (8th Cir. Nov. 28, 2012)
. On February 28, 2013, the District Court (Judge Otrie D. Smith) granted plaintiffs' motion and stayed all proceedings until the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on the appeals in Annex or O'Brien.
As of December 5, 2013, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals has not ruled in either Annex or O'Brien. This case is currently still pending.Tifani Sadek - 10/03/2013
Mallory Jones - 12/05/2013
Richard Jolly - 04/04/2014