Tags: Healthcare Reform | Religion | 10th Circuit Court | Obamacare | Healthcare | Affordable Care Act

Court Rejects Obamacare Contraception Challenge Due to Rule Change

Image: Court Rejects Obamacare Contraception Challenge Due to Rule Change
In this Dec. 8, 2014, file photo, lawyer Mark Rienzi, representing Little Sisters of the Poor, speaks to members of the media after attending a hearing in the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, in Denver, Colorado. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley, File)

By    |   Wednesday, 15 Jul 2015 12:00 PM

An appellate court dealt a blow to Christian employers that are challenging the contraception rules in Obamacare in light of the new rules put out by the Obama administration last week.

The U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday rejected the lawsuits brought by Christian groups, such as the Catholic nursing home group, Little Sisters of the Poor, that claim moral objections to having to provide health insurance plans that includes coverage for contraception, The Wall Street Journal reported

On Friday, the Obama administration altered the rules in the Affordable Care Act as a compromise with religious employers that oppose contraception, saying that if the employers inform their insurance providers of their objections, then the insurance company will take over the responsibility of providing contraception to employees who want it, according to The Journal

The Christian groups reject the apparent compromise, saying that it still requires the employer to provide the insurance plan that includes contraception.

While some groups object to most forms of birth control, others specifically object to the so-called morning-after pill, which they say could amount to an abortion.

However, the three-judge panel, in a 2-1 ruling said that the rule change by the administration "relieves them from complicity" because it shifts the "responsibility to provide coverage away from the plaintiffs," which "relieves rather than burdens their religious exercise."

One of the lawyers for the Becket Fund, Mark Rienzi, who is representing the Little Sisters of the Poor, slammed the decision.

"It is a national embarrassment that the world's most powerful government insists that, instead of providing contraceptives through its own existing exchanges and programs, it must crush the Little Sisters' faith and force them to participate," Rienzi said.

The group says that it's considering filing an appeal with the Supreme Court.

While the Obama administration has won similar Obamacare challenges over its contraception rules in the Third, Fifth, Seventh and D.C. circuit courts, the Supreme Court revived a decision that favored the Obama administration in April, when it sent the case back to the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to take a second look at the decision.  

The Supreme Court ruled in June 2014 that for-profit businesses with religious objections, such as Hobby Lobby, can opt-out of the Obamacare requirement to provide insurance plans that cover contraception for their employees.

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2015-00-15
Wednesday, 15 Jul 2015 12:00 PM
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