Friday, December 27, 2013

3 Religiously Affiliated Schools Win Texas Federal Court Injunction Against Contraceptive Mandate

Today in  East Texas Baptist University v. Sebelius, (SD TX, Dec. 27, 2013), a Texas federal district court enjoined the government from enforcing the Affordable Care Act contraceptive coverage mandate against two Baptist universities and a Presbyterian seminary.  The court concluded that under RFRA the contraceptive mandate accommodation calling for objecting religious non-profits to complete a self-certification form imposes a substantial burden on the schools' free exercise rights. The contraceptive coverage that the schools' employees then receive directly from the insurance company or policy's third-party administrator is causally connected to acts the schools have performed:
It is the insurance plan that the religious-organization employer put into place, the issuer or TPA the employer contracted with, and the self-certification form the employer completes and provides the issuer or TPA, that enable the employees to obtain the free access to the contraceptive devices that the plaintiffs find religiously offensive.
Becket Fund issued a press release announcing the decision.