Another challenge to the Department of Health and Human Services contraceptive mandate has been dismissed by a federal judge who decided that it’s too early to hear the lawsuit as the Obama administration has promised changes to the mandate to satisfy concerns about religious freedom.
U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson, a President Barack Obama appointee, dismissed the case filed by The Archdiocese of Washington, The Catholic University of America, Consortium of Catholic Academies, Archbishop Carroll High School, and Catholic Charities of D.C. reportedly saying, “If after the new regulations are issued, plaintiffs are still not satisfied, any challenges that they choose to bring will be substantially different from the challenges in the current complaint.”
The Affordable Care Act requires that employer-supplied health-care plans cover contraception. The archdiocese and 42 other Catholic organizations, including the University of Notre Dame and The Catholic University of America, filed lawsuits last year arguing that the mandate violates freedom of religion guaranteed in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
Religious nonprofits have not been forced by the government to violate their conscience yet because the Obama administration extended a “safe harbor” clause to religious non-profits that delayed enforcement of the mandate on them until at least after Aug. 1.
“While we are disappointed by the decision, we are not discouraged in the least because the judge based her dismissal solely on procedural grounds; she did not rule nor make any judgments on the merits of our case,” a Catholic University spokesperson told The Washington Times.
The University of Notre Dame recently saw its lawsuit dismissed on similar grounds. Belmont Abbey College saw its lawsuit dismissed late last year only to see an appellate court reinstate it. Many expect the Administration to announce a change to the mandate in coming months.
There have been over 44 lawsuits against the mandate and over 130 plaintiffs.
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