Friday, August 13, 2021

Court Dismisses Challenge To Contraceptive Mandate Exemption for Notre Dame

In Irish 4 Reproductive Health v. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, (ND IN, Aug. 12, 2021), an Indiana federal district court dismissed a suit challenging rules, as well as a settlement agreement, exempting Notre Dame University from the contraceptive coverage mandate of the Affordable Care Act. The court said in part:

With the Rules having been upheld by the Supreme Court, I can’t really say that the Settlement Agreement itself is causing injury to the Plaintiffs because the same result the Settlement Agreement provides Notre Dame (exempting it from the contraceptive coverage mandate) is equally provided by the Rules (the validity of which were upheld). The challenge to the Settlement Agreement “is not ripe for adjudication [because] it rests upon contingent future events that may not occur” - i.e., the speculative possibility that the exemption might be invalidated at some point in the future.

The court, relying on the Supreme Court's Little Sisters of the Poor decision and a Massachusetts federal district court case, also held that the rules creating religious exemptions from the contraceptive coverage mandate do not violate the Establishment Clause.