Thursday, May 22, 2014

Court Issues Preliminary Injunction Against ACA Contraceptive Mandate Enforcement Against Two Religious Colleges

In Dordt College v. Sebelius, (ND IA, May 21, 2014), an Iowa federal district court granted a preliminary injunction to two religiously-oriented colleges-- Dordt College (Christian Reformed Church) and Cornerstone University (Baptist)-- to prevent enforcement of the Affordable Care Act contraceptive coverage mandate rules against them. This is another of the many cases in which religious non-profits-- objecting to covering contraceptives that they believe to be abortifacients-- claim that their free exercise rights under RFRA are violated even under the government's compromise in which coverage is provided directly from their insurers or third-party administrators. (See prior related posting.) The court indicated that it was planning to wait for the U.S. Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby decision to issue an opinion, but the mandate takes effect against Dordt College on June 1 and the 8th Circuit (which includes Iowa) has issued injunctions pending appeal in two challenges to the contraceptive coverage mandate by for-profit businesses. ADF issued a press release announcing the decision. Des Moines Register reports on the decision.