Home Political News Judge blocks ‘contraception mandate’ for Catholic diocese plaintiffs

Judge blocks ‘contraception mandate’ for Catholic diocese plaintiffs


images-7Dave Stafford

December 31, 2013
published in Indiana Lawyer.com
A federal judge in Fort Wayne has blocked enforcement of the “contraception mandate” for numerous health care providers in a lawsuit brought by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend. The ruling could impact more than 10,000 people eligible for benefits through a number of diocese-related organizations.District Court Judge Jon DeGuilio of the Northern District of Indiana granted a temporary injunction blocking the mandate contained in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The litigation is et al. v. Kathleen Sebelius, et al., 1:12-CV-159.

The diocese and its affiliated plaintiffs – Catholic Charities; Saint Anne Home & Retirement Community; Franciscan Alliance, Inc.; Specialized Physicians of Illinois, LLC; University of Saint Francis; and Our Sunday Visitor, Inc. – claim the mandate violates their religious liberties under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

The order notes Franciscan employs about 8,700 benefits-eligible workers; the diocese employs about 1,000 who participate in a health plan; Specialty Physicians, Saint Francis and Our Sunday Visitor each have more than 300 benefits-eligible employees; Saint Anne Home has 220 insurance-eligible workers; and Catholic Charities has a few dozen.

In granting the injunction, DeGuilio ruled, “plaintiffs have shown that their RFRA claim stands a reasonable likelihood of success on the merits, that irreparable harm will result without adequate remedy absent an injunction, and that the balance of harms favors protecting the religious-liberty rights of the plaintiffs.”

The ruling Friday came just days after another judge in the Northern District rejected a suit refiled by the University of Notre Dame that sought to block third-party providers who would provide contraception coverage under the Affordable Care Act.

The mandate has divided federal circuit courts and currently is before the Supreme Court of the United States.

DeGuilio’s order noted the injunction was granted ahead of motions to dismiss and summary judgment motions “in an effort to prevent the possibility of any unjust enforcement of the contraception mandate against plaintiffs come the first of the year.”

The ruling states, “there are certainly other ways to promote public health and gender equality less burdensome on religious liberty, and the government has not carried its burden of demonstrating that it cannot achieve its policy goals in ways less damaging to religious-exercise rights.”

Employees might not share the diocese’s views on contraception and abortion, the ruling notes. “(T)he plaintiffs’ employees and the public are best served if the plaintiffs can continue to provide needed (and expected) religiously based community services, and the needed (and expected) insurance coverage to its employees, without the threat of substantial fines and the risk of layoffs for noncompliance with the contraception mandate and its accommodation,” DeGuilio wrote.


  1. There really is a simple solution to this. IN is an “at-will” state. All the Church needs to do is fire the workers that don’t agree to “pass” on contraception that is covered by insurance. I wonder how that would work for them?

  2. Oh for God’s sakes, embrace modern technology. It’s an old testament verse about a guy pulling out in ancient Mesopotamia. Can we grow up?

    • Pulling out doesn’t work. One would think the inerrant word of God would have known such things. Quite frankly providing birth control and abortions on demand is the cheapest way to deal with the population explosion among the poor. A lifetime supply of pills or condoms is a heck of a lot cheaper than paying for the “Life of Julia” from cradle to grave. It’s cheaper than building prisons to house those unwanted babies when they grow up too.

      • Well don’t you speak the truth at the risk of being called names by the right. Here is one problem with your practical solution. How are you gonna get those dimwits to take the pills and use the condoms? There are a large number of Americans who are too stupid and irresponsible to use benefits handed to them on a silver platter.

  3. Sooooo dissapointed by Sotomayor on this unless she knows that they have the votes to enforce the mandate, which I doubt.

    Your benefits are like your paycheck, how you spend/use them are none of your employers business.

    If Hateful Hobby Lobby, and the hateful religious zealots and control freaks who support them, gets away with this then all HELL is going to break loose. Every selfish vidictive boss/employer/CEO/Corporation in the country will be implementing the most vicious, arbitrary and capricious rules you can imagine. It will become a free for all.

    Ohh your wife is experiencing a difficult expensive labor? Ummm well I think/believe the world is overcrowded and you should have used birth control.
    I think maybe you’re just gonna have to pay for this yourself, and on and on and on it will go.

    Don’t give me this crud about the free market exercising discipline either. Because if your employer changes the rules its not that easy to go out and find another job not to mention all the benefits, tenure, etc people might have to give up.

    Don’t give me this crud about the free market exercising discipline either. Because if your employer changes the rules its not that easy to go out and find another job not to mention all the benefits, tenure, etc people might have to give up.

    These zealots have NO idea about the dangerous crazy pandora’s box they are about to open. And when the gates of hell are opened you never know which house the demons will invade.

    • I think Sotomayor is going to refuse the stay on same-sex marriage in Utah, so she threw the nuns a crumb that is going to get taken away.

  4. The Immaculate Contraception. Does this mean they can start paying taxes now? I’m tired of carrying them.

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