Religious Liberty – Federal Court Rules Against Obamacare’s Birth Control Mandate


Leah Barkoukis
Sep 18, 2015

Now more than ever it looks likely that the Supreme Court will take up Obamacare’s birth control mandate after a federal appeals court on Thursday ruled against it, directly contradicting an earlier federal court ruling on the issue.

The Hill reports:

The 8th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that four Christian nonprofits should not have to comply with the ObamaCare rule that all employer healthcare plans include contraception options or face a fee. While employers can seek exemptions to the law, the court argued that doing so poses a “substantial burden” on that organization’s religious rights. […]

The ruling includes 30 references to Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, the 2014 Supreme Court case that allowed certain for-profit companies to opt out of the mandate. Since that decision, multiple nonprofits, including universities, have taken legal action demanding to be granted the same permissions.

Under ObamaCare, employer healthcare plans are required to cover all federally approved forms of birth control. That includes, as the court notes, emergency contraception that some religious organizations believe is “functionally equivalent to abortion on demand.”

Groups can receive an exemption by writing a letter to the Health and Human Services Department or filling out a two-page form to document their objections. Houses of worships are automatically exempt from the law.

A White House spokeswoman on Thursday said the administration is “disappointed” in the decision, but believes the mandate will ultimately be upheld.

“With [Thursday’s] decisions, the [Supreme] Court will have great reason to decide this issue in the next term,” the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty said in a statement.