ABA Journal


First Amendment

Archdiocese wins injunction blocking contraception coverage requirement

Dec 17, 2013, 07:38 pm CST


This ruling gets the First exactly backwards. It's an establishment of religion, and diminishes the religious freedom of the patients.

By Greg Ohio on 2013 12 18, 1:45 pm CST

This was the only correct decision. I applaud Judge Cogan's thoughtful order.

The real shame is that the Obama Administration so lacks an appreciation of religious freedom that it would propose such a mandate in the first place. The mandate is an in-your-face use of raw governmental power against a religious tradition that Obama despises.

By Yankee on 2013 12 18, 4:09 pm CST

Greg Ohio, There were no patients involved in this lawsuit or decision. It's about employers and their employees.

By Leslie on 2013 12 18, 4:46 pm CST


Employees are patients, too.

By faddking on 2013 12 18, 7:54 pm CST

Since when is contraception health care?

By Tim on 2013 12 18, 10:47 pm CST

@ 5: You need a physician's prescription for options such as birth control pills, an IUD, Depo-Provera injections, or a diaphragm. OB/Gyn visits are not cheap--averaging about $100 a pop. So how much is "getting laid" on a routine basis worth to you? If insurance can't cover it because of religious zealots, it would be a shame if women had to peddle it on the streets....

By BMF on 2013 12 18, 11:24 pm CST

@6 " religious zealots"??

That's quite a loaded term there.

Employees of Catholic institutions should be presumed to understand Catholic doctrine in this area. This doctrine has been around for a very long time.

By Yankee on 2013 12 19, 3:43 pm CST

@6 Coverage of OB/gyn visits is not in dispute here. They are covered. The $8,000 hearing aid my husband needs TO HEAR? Not covered. The braces all three of my kids needed? Not covered. The eyeglasses three out of five of us wear? Barely covered.

By Leslie on 2013 12 19, 3:49 pm CST

Yankee @ 7: There's always someone who will think something said is slanted in the wrong direction. in this case, "zealots" seemed not to have the derogatory connotation that "fanatics" and "fundamentalists" have acquired. That is all....

By BMF on 2013 12 19, 3:54 pm CST

How come the Church is all in favor of its own religious freedom but indifferent to those of its employees'?

By AndytheLawyer on 2013 12 19, 4:56 pm CST

If there are employees of a church that want to practice contraception they are free to do so. The church just doesn't want to subsidize it for them or make it available to them through the 'health' insurance.

By Tim on 2013 12 19, 5:02 pm CST

@10 No one is denying anyone the right to use contraception. What these lawsuits are saying is that it is a blatant and alarming violation of the First Amendment to force religious employers to violate their beliefs. If this wasn't about contraception, more people would understand that what Obama is trying to do is truly frightening.

By Leslie on 2013 12 19, 5:03 pm CST

@ 8: The issue here, though, is not as clear cut as the religious employers present it. For example: Even if the government suddenly decided, in the interest of equal treatment--"Okay, NOBODY'S birth control is covered under this plan"--would the employer be obligated to cover an OB/Gyn visit if it was incurred specifically to obtain a prescription birth control product? Under HIPPA privacy laws, the employer shouldn't be able to even make that sort of inquiry. And how far do we permit this to go? What if the employer's particular religion prohibits transfusions of blood? Or requires a plan that includes homeopathic remedies?

In most jurisdictions, employers--even religious employers--are not permitted to discriminate according to religion--or anything else--based on various flavors of "equal dignity" laws. (Especially if they receive any government funds.) In such cases, should an employer's religious views interfere with the employees' fundamental rights? Because the right to determine family issues, such as the use of birth control, ARE fundamental rights issues.

I'm not a happy camper about the plan's approach to eyeglasses and similar necessary medical devices, either. Why do disposable contact lenses--which are essentially a vanity product, IMO, often enjoy a higher percentage of insurer coverage? Should Americans be forced to subsidize the purchase of "Scooters" at 100%? Maybe if the Designer Eyeglass Lobby was as persistent as the Scooter Lobby, things would be different.

Don't get me started on prescription pricing, and whether the government should be able to dictate that you must take generics--unless you are willing to jump through hoops and do a ream of paperwork for two months to prove WHY this is not a good idea--medically.

And shouldn't people who insist on killing themselves slowly by smoking, drinking to excess, or other non-compliance with their doctor's advice be forced to pay a penalty? We could probably have the healthiest nation in the world if we taxed physician non-compliance, and gave people tax incentives for working out.

By BMF on 2013 12 19, 5:39 pm CST


This doctrine has been around since the Inquisition, which ties into the reiigious zealot thingy.

By faddking on 2013 12 20, 9:37 pm CST

@14 Actually, this doctrine existed a thousand years before the inquisition.

By Yankee on 2013 12 21, 1:23 pm CST

These cases are, at some level, about whether women are fully regarded as human beings. Whose religion matters, that of the institution or the patient? What if the Church of the Holy Cinderblock takes over a health care system? Read more here:

By 1humanwoman on 2013 12 27, 6:45 pm CST

Add a Comment

We welcome your comments, but please adhere to our comment policy.

Commenting is not available in this channel entry.