A divided federal appeals court has temporarily barred the U.S. government from requiring an Illinois company to obtain insurance coverage for contraceptives, as mandated under the 2010 healthcare overhaul, after the owners objected on religious grounds.
In this case, of which there are many, Korte & Luitjohan Contractors wanted to change the employee health plan to one that abided with their Catholic beliefs, but the Contraceptive Mandate didn’t allow for such a change and that’s where the First Amendment and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which prevents laws from “substantially burden a person’s free exercise of their religion.”.
In issuing an injunction, the 7th Circuit majority said the Kortes had established a reasonable likelihood of success on the merits of their RFRA claim, and that the government had not yet justified the apparent “substantial burden” on their religious exercise.
The court also said the couple had established irreparable harm, because absent an injunction they would have to choose between maintaining insurance coverage they considered inappropriate or facing substantial financial penalties.
However, one judge on the >7th Circuit, dissented:
Judge Ilana Rovner dissented. She said the Kortes were “multiple steps” removed from the contraceptives services because it was their company paying for the coverage, and because it would be a worker, her doctor and the insurer involved in the decisions about the services and their funding.
Obviously to some, it is not a clear cut situation and with any new legislation, there’s bound to be confusion and objection. Again, I’m curious to see where this case and the many other cases go. There’s a lot riding on the decisions made through the Justice system.
The full text of the case can be found here.