SCOTUS Declines to Hear New Birth Control Cases

On the heels of hearing arguments in two major contraception coverage cases, the Supreme Court on Monday declined preliminary appeals from Roman Catholic groups also challenging the healthcare law.

These newest challengers to the healthcare coverage requirement differ from the well-known Hobby Lobby in a number of ways.  Unlike the for-profit craft business Hobby Lobby, the challengers in these cases are non-profit religious organizations.  As a result, the groups bringing the suit are not subject to the same requirements as for-profit corporations.  A 2013 amendment to the federal healthcare law allows non-profit organizations to exempt themselves from providing contraception coverage, in which case that coverage is provided by a third party insurer.  The groups, however, are claiming that filing the paperwork for exemption makes them complicit in providing contraception, and therefore violates their religious rights.

A federal district court has already ruled against the non-profits, holding that the objections were actually being made to a third party action and that the law did not substantially burden any group’s religious rights.  The cases will now be heard in an appeals court in May, and there remains a chance they will eventually make their way to the Supreme Court. 

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