On February 15, 2012, a non-profit Catholic-based organization of priests united in ideology against the practice of abortion filed a U.S. District Court lawsuit in the Eastern District of New York against the Federal Government under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), the Administrative ...
read more >
On February 15, 2012, a non-profit Catholic-based organization of priests united in ideology against the practice of abortion filed a U.S. District Court lawsuit in the Eastern District of New York against the Federal Government under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), and the First and Fifth Amendments. Plaintiffs, represented by the American Freedom Law Center and private counsel, seek to enjoin enforcement of provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) extending universal contraception coverage in employer-sponsored private health insurance coverage. Plaintiffs contend that this mandatory contraception coverage violates their religious foundation.
On May 14, 2012, the Priests amended their complaint raising the same issues but emphasizing that their health care plan is not a grandfather plan under the ACA and is therefore not entitled under the regulation to a temporary exemption from the mandate.
On September 12, 2012, the U.S. moved to dismiss the case, arguing that it was unripe, since the regulations were in the process of being amended; and on November 9, the plaintiffs sought a preliminary injunction. On December 21, the parties entered a stipulation, under which the U.S. would not enforce the contraception mandate at least through December 2013. Plaintiff's counsel explained that the plaintiff was not, in its own view, entitled under the applicable regulations to a temporary exemption from the mandate; the U.S. argued otherwise, explaining that the plaintiff met the temporary enforcement safe harbor criteria.
On April 12, 2013, the District Court (Judge Frederic Bock) granted the Government's motion to dismiss because the Priests' claims were not yet ripe. The court found that that Government was in the process of amending the regulation. These amendments would take effect prior to the end of the safe harbor period such that the regulation in its current form would never be enforced against the Priests or similarly situated entities. And because the rules the contents of the new rules are yet to be determined, the Priests dissatisfaction with the new rules is purely speculative. The case was dismissed without prejudice. On August 13, 2013, this case was refiled in the District for the District of Columbia - Priests for Life v. Sebelius
.Richard Jolly - 04/20/2014
Kate Craddock - 02/08/2016