On June 28, 2013, the United States Department of Health and Human Services issued a final rule concerning the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (the Mandate). The regulations of the final rule required health insurance plans to provide coverage of contraception and abortifacients, with an ...
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On June 28, 2013, the United States Department of Health and Human Services issued a final rule concerning the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (the Mandate). The regulations of the final rule required health insurance plans to provide coverage of contraception and abortifacients, with an exemption for employee health plans offered by churches and their integrated auxiliaries, as well as an accommodation for employee health plans by certain qualified religious organizations.
Plaintiffs are a non-profit, non-religious pro-life organization and its employees who share the same opposition to abortion and coverage of contraception and abortifacients in the employee health plans. Some of the employees hold a religious belief against the use of contraception and abortifacients.
The exemption promulgated by the Health Department did not extend to the plaintiff organization for its non-church non-religious nature. As a result, the organization was unable to provide non-abortifacient health plans to employees without violating the Mandate. As it was also reluctant to drop all health insurance coverage for its employees, the plaintiffs commenced a lawsuit.
On July 7, 2014, the plaintiffs filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia against three government agencies, namely the United States Department of Health and Human Services, the United States Department of Labor and the United States Department of the Treasury, under the Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. § 500 et seq., the Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201, and Religious Freedom Restoration Act, 42 U.S.C. § 2000bb et seq. The plaintiffs, represented by public interest attorneys from Alliance Defending Freedom, sought declaratory and injunctive relief from the Court. They alleged that the Mandate unconstitutionally discriminated against the organization in light of the exemption and accommodation of certain similarly situated entities, and deprived its religious employees of the ability to choose non-abortifacient health plans. The plaintiffs claimed that the defendants violated the Religious Freedom Restoration Act as well as the Equal Protection and Free Exercise clauses in the Constitution of the United States.
The case is ongoing. Emma Bao - 09/30/2014