Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Notre Dame and HHS Sued Over Settlement of Contraceptive Mandate Coverage

Yesterday a group of Notre Dame undergraduate and graduate students filed suit in an Indiana federal district court against the University and the Trump Administration challenging a settlement entered last year with the University in its lawsuit over the contraceptive coverage mandate under the Affordable Care Act.  The complaint (full text) in Irish 4 Reproductive Health v. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (ND IN, filed 6/26/2018), contends that the settlement which exempts Notre Dame from furnishing contraceptive coverage to its students and employees where doing so would violate the University's religious tenets was entered in violations of the Administrative Procedure Act.  The settlement reflects the exemptions for religious non-profits which the Trump Administration adopted, but whose application has been enjoined nationwide by two other federal district courts.  The complaint also challenges the constitutionality of those now-enjoined rules.

According to the complaint, Notre Dame will provide some contraceptive coverage, but will require co-pays, and will refuse to cover certain IUDs and emergency contraceptives. Presumably this is an attempt to withdraw coverage of contraceptives that may prevent implantation of a fertilized egg.  Plaintiffs in the case are represented by Americans United for Separation of Church and State, the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC), the Center for Reproductive Rights and their co-counsel. NWLC issued a press release announcing the lawsuit.