Fighting Irish Lose Court Battle Over Contraception Mandate
Notre Dame lost its second legal challenge against the Affordable Care Act's contraception mandate.
Notre Dame lost its second legal challenge against the Affordable Care Act's contraception mandate, according to the school. Notre Dame tweeted on Monday that it was disappointed by the results of the case, but planned to challenge the ruling a third time:
Notre Dame is disappointed in the denial of our request for relief from the HHS mandate. The University has appealed the decision.— Notre Dame (@NotreDame) December 23, 2013
In general, religious institutions and schools are exempt from the Obamacare mandate to provide employees with contraceptives and employees receive contraceptives directly from the insurer. However, it does not apply to Notre Dame because the school is one of a handful that self-insures and pays all employee medical costs.
The administration had tried to reach a compromise with the school. As explained by The Hill, the university would have notified its health plan administrator of its anti-contraceptives position, and the administrators would have told the employees about alternatives for getting birth control coverage. The parties could not reach a decision which led to the lawsuit. The previous suit was thrown out because the mandate hadn't yet taken effect.
Notre Dame is one of just a handful of religious schools that self-insures, and judges have been split on whether the contraceptive mandate violates religious freedoms. On Friday a district court judge in Washington threw out the Catholic Church's lawsuit against the mandate, according to Bloomberg, because the law no longer requires them to “provide, pay for, or facilitate access to contraception,” for their employees. That same day, an Oklahoma district court granted 200 evangelical ministries an exemption from the mandate.
Of course, these are just a handful of the many legal challenges against Obamacare, a law that seems to split opinions at every turn. Even the "issue" of providing contraceptives to women isn't cut and dry among the religious community. While the Catholic Church works to overturn the mandate, Hispanic evangelicals have been supporting the law, arguing that the good it does (providing insurance) outweighs the bad (breaking from religious opinions on contraceptives), according to Politico. Rhona Cohen, a health care advocate who works with evangelical churches, told Politico that most people are primarily concerned with whether they can afford health insurance. For most lay people, the contraceptive mandate isn't actually a deal breaker.