On November 4, 2013, Right to Life of Michigan ("Right to Life") filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan against the Federal Government under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), the First Amendment, and the Administrative Procedure Act (APA). ...
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On November 4, 2013, Right to Life of Michigan ("Right to Life") filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan against the Federal Government under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), the First Amendment, and the Administrative Procedure Act (APA). Plaintiff, represented by private counsel, asked the court to issue a preliminary and permanent injunction prohibiting enforcement of provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) extending universal contraception coverage to employer-sponsored private health insurance coverage. Specifically, Right to Life of Michigan contended that compliance with the contraception coverage requirement violates its sincerely held religious beliefs.
On January 13, 2014, the federal Government moved to dismiss the complaint. The Department of Justice argued that Right to Life challenged aspects of the ACA that had been superseded by the 2013 Final Rule, which, the U.S. suggested granted accommodation to eligible non-profit religious organizations. Right to Life therefore, according to the U.S., lacked subject matter jurisdiction. On January 27, 2014, Right to Life amended its complaint to specifically challenge the 2013 Final Rule. Under the new regulation, Right to Life still did not fall within the "religious employer" exception, but did qualify for the accommodation as an "eligible organization." Right to Life challenged this accommodation, arguing that it required them to provide self-certification to their insurance provider setting forth their religious objections to the regulation, which in turn triggers an obligation on the part of the insurance provider to procure the services plaintiffs find objectionable. Plaintiffs are, thus, the but-for cause of providing contraception coverage. Plaintiffs continued to ask the court to grant a permanent injunction against enforcement of the relevant provisions of the ACA. On February 3, 2014, the court (Judge Robert J. Jonker) ordered that the amended complaint replaced the original complaint rendering the Federal Government's motion to dismiss moot.
On February 10, 2014, the Federal Government filed an unopposed motion to stay the proceedings pending the Sixth Circuit's ruling in the consolidated appeals of Catholic Diocese of Nashville and Michigan Catholic Conference. On February 14, 2014, the court (Judge Robert J. Jonker) granted the motion to stay.
The case is ongoing as of March 6, 2014.Richard Jolly - 05/05/2014