Challenges to the Federal Contraceptive Coverage Rule

April 8, 2014

On November 26, 2013, the Supreme Court announced that it would hear two challenges to the contraception rule: one from an Oklahoma-based craft supply chain store (Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., 13-354) and another from a Pennsylvania-based furniture manufacturer (Conestoga v. Sebelius, 13-356). Oral argument took place on March 25, 2014, and the Supreme Court could issue a decision anytime between oral argument and the conclusion of the Court's term in June. Read more.

Jump to Full List of Cases for This Issue

As part of the Affordable Care Act, the federal government issued a rule that requires health plans to cover contraception without a co-pay. To date, 95 cases have been filed challenging the rule as an infringement on religious liberty. 83 of these cases are currently pending: 36 cases brought by nonprofit organizations, 44 cases brought by for-profit companies, and 3 cases brought by both nonprofit and for-profit plaintiffs. In these cases, the ACLU is defending the anti-discrimination rule. While religious freedom gives us all the right to make personal decisions about how to practice religion, it doesn't give institutions or individuals the right to impose their beliefs on others or to discriminate.

Challenges by for-profit employers: There are currently 47 cases challenging the rule filed by for-profits, including, for example, a national craft supply chain, a mining company, and a wood cabinet manufacturer. On March 25, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in two challenges to the contraception rule: one from an Oklahoma-based craft supply chain store (Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., 13-354) and another from a Pennsylvania-based furniture manufacturer (Conestoga v. Sebelius, 13-356). A decision could issue anytime between oral argument and the conclusion of the Court’s term in June.

Challenges by nonprofit employers: Under the final rule, the administration has accommodated nonprofits with religious objections to covering contraceptives. The rule is designed to ensure employees will receive contraception coverage but that the nonprofit employer with religious objections will not bear the cost or otherwise have any connection with the coverage. This revision, while unnecessary, should put to rest religious objections from nonprofit entities. Nevertheless, several nonprofits are challenging even the accommodation. There are 39 nonprofit cases currently pending.

The cases that are currently pending (83 by our count) are listed below, broken out into profit and nonprofit. Three of the cases include both nonprofit and for-profit plaintiffs, and those cases are listed in both charts in bold. Cases that have been argued or decided in the court of appeals are highlighted in yellow. Cases where a petition for writ of certiorari has been granted by the U.S. Supreme Court are highlighted in pink.

The cases challenging the contraceptive rule are only one set of cases in which institutions and individuals are seeking an exemption from anti-discrimination rules, on the ground that they violate their religious beliefs. There are cases of inns and bakeries closing their doors to same-sex couples and of religious schools firing employees who are unmarried and pregnant, for example, in the name of religion.

In these cases, the ACLU is defending the anti-discrimination rule. While religious freedom gives us all the right to make personal decisions about how to practice religion, it doesn't give institutions or individuals the right to impose their beliefs on others or to discriminate.

Challenges to the Contraception Rules
As of April 8, 2014

 

Guide to Terms

  • Grant of a preliminary injunction or temporary restraining order or injunction pending appeal means the court ordered the government not to require the plaintiff(s) in the case to comply with the new rule, pending further proceedings in the case. These are temporary orders, not decisions on the merits.
  • Denial of a preliminary injunction or temporary restraining order or injunction pending appeal means the plaintiff(s) in the case is still under an obligation to comply with the contraceptive rule pending further proceedings. These are temporary orders, not decisions on the merits.
  • Dismissed means the court dismissed the case.
  • Motion to dismiss denied means the court refused to dismiss the case.

FOR-PROFIT CASES

Case Name

Status

American Pulverizer Co. v. HHS, 13-1395 (8th Cir.).

Annex Medical, Inc. v. Sebelius, 13-1118 (8th Cir.).

Armstrong v. Sebelius, 13-1218 (10th Cir.).

Autocam Corp. v. Sebelius, 12-2673, 13-2316 (6th Cir.).

Barron Industries, Inc. v. Sebelius, 13-CV-01330 (D.D.C.).

Beckwith Electric v. Sebelius, 13-13879 (11th Cir.).

Bick Holding, Inc. v. Sebelius, 13-CV-00462 (E.D. Mo.).

Briscoe v. Sebelius, 13-1461 (10th Cir.).

Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp. v. Sebelius, 13-1144 (3rd Cir.).

C.W. Zumbiel Co. v. Sebelius, 13-CV-01611 (D.D.C.).

  • Motion for preliminary injunction granted by district court

Doboszenski & Sons, Inc. v. Sebelius, 13-CV-03148 (D. Minn.).

Domino's Farms Corporation v. Sebelius, 13-1654 (6th Cir.).

Eden Foods v. Sebelius, 13-1677 (6th Cir.).

Feltl and Company, Inc. v. Sebelius, 13-CV-1374 (D. Minn.).

Geneva College v. Sebelius, 13-2814 (3rd Cir.).

Gilardiv. HHS, 13-5069 (D.C. Cir.).

Grote Industries v. Sebelius, 13-1077 (7th Cir.).

Hall v. Sebelius, 13-CV-00295 (D. Minn.).

Hart Electric v. Sebelius, 13-CV-02253 (N.D. Ill.).

Hastings Automotive, Inc. v. Sebelius, 14-CV-00265 (D. Minn.).

  • Complaint filed

Hobby Lobby v. Sebelius, 12-CV-01000 (W.D. Okla.).

Holland v. Sebelius, 13-CV-15487 (S.D. W.Va.).

Infrastructure Alternatives v. Sebelius, 13-CV-00031 (W.D. Mich.).

Johnson Welded Products v. Sebelius, 13-CV-00609 (D.D.C.).

Korte v. HHS, 12-3841 (7th Cir.).

Legatus v. Sebelius, 13-1092, 12-CV-12601 (6th Cir., E.D. Mich.).

Lindsay v. Sebelius, 13-CV-01210 (N.D. Ill.).

M&N Plastics v. Sebelius, 13-CV-14754 (E.D. Mich.).

  • Complaint filed

Mersino Dewatering, Inc. v. Sebelius, 13-CV-15079 (E.D. Mich.).

  • Complaint filed

Mersino Management v. Sebelius, 13-1944 (6th Cir.).

Midwest Fastener Corp. v. Sebelius, 13-CV-01337 (D.D.C.).

MK Chambers Company v. Sebelius, 13-CV-11379 (E.D. Mich.).

Newland v. Sebelius, 12-1380 (10th Cir.).

O Brien v. HHS, 12-3357 (8th Cir.).

Ozinga v. Sebelius, 13-CV-03292 (N.D. Ill.).

The QC Group, Inc. v. Sebelius, 13-CV-01726 (D. Minn.).

Randy Reed Automotive, Inc. v. Sebelius, 13-CV-06117 (W.D. Mo.).

Sharpe Holdings v. Sebelius, 12-CV-00092 (E.D. Mo.).

Sioux Chief Mfg. v. Sebelius, 13-CV-00036 (W.D. Mo.).

SMA, LLC v. Sebelius, 13-CV-01375 (D. Minn.).

Stewart v. Sebelius, 13-CV-01879 (D.D.C.).

  • Motion for preliminary injunction pending.

Tonn and Blank Construction, LLC v. Sebelius, 12-CV-325 (N.D. Ind.).

Trijicon, Inc. v. Sebelius, 13-CV-01207 (D.D.C.).

Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. v. Sebelius, 12-CV-01635 (D.D.C.).

Williams v. Sebelius, 13-CV-01699 (D.D.C.).

Willis & Willis PLC v. Sebelius, 13-cv-01124 (D.D.C.).

Yep v. HHS, 13-1748 (7th Cir.).

 

NOT-FOR-PROFIT CASES

Case Name

Status

Archdiocese of St. Louis v. Sebelius, 13-CV-02300 (E.D. Mo.).

Ave Maria Foundation v. Sebelius, 14-1310 (6th Cir.).

Ave Maria School of Law v. Sebelius, 13-CV-00795 (M.D. Fla.).

Ave Maria University v. Sebelius, 13-CV-00630 (M.D. Fla.).

Belmont Abbey College v. Sebelius, 13-CV-01831 (D.D.C.).

  • Complaint filed

Catholic Benefits Association v. Sebelius, 14-CV-00240 (W.D. Okla.).

Catholic Diocese of Beaumont v. Sebelius, 14-40212 (5th Cir.).

Catholic Diocese of Nashville v. Sebelius, 13-6640 (6th Cir.).

Colorado Christian University v. Sebelius, 13-CV-3350 (D. Colo.).

Diocese of Cheyenne v. Sebelius, 14-CV-00021 (D. Wyo.).

  • Complaint filed

Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend v. Sebelius, 14-1431 (7th Cir.).

Dobson v. Sebelius, 13-CV-03326 (D. Co.).

Dordt College v. Sebelius, 13-CV-4100 (N.D. Iowa).

East Texas Baptist University v. Sebelius, 14-20112 (5th Cir.).

Eternal Word Television Network v. Sebelius, 13-cv-00521 (S.D. Ala.).

Fellowship of Catholic University Students v. Sebelius, 13-CV-03263 (D. Co.).

Geneva College v. Sebelius, 14-1374 (3rd Cir.).

Grace Schools v. Sebelius, 14-1430 (7th Cir.).

Liberty University v. Lew, 10-2347 (4th Cir.).

Legatus v. Sebelius, 14-1183 (6th Cir.).

Little Sisters of the Poor Home for the Aged v. Sebelius, 13- 1540 (10th Cir.).

Louisiana College v. Sebelius, 12-CV-00463 (W.D. La.).

  • Motion for preliminary injunction pending
  • Motion for summary judgment pending
  • Motion to dismiss pending

Michigan Catholic Conference v. Sebelius, 13-2723 (6th Cir.).

Most Reverand Persico, Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Erie v. Sebelius, 14-1376 (3rd Cir.).

Most Reverand Zubik, Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh v. Sebelius, 14-1377 (3rd Cir.).

Priests for Life v. Sebelius, 13-5368 (D.C. Cir.).

Reaching Souls International, Inc. v. Sebelius, 14-6028 (10th Cir.).

Right to Life of Michigan v. Sebelius, 13-CV-01202 (W.D. Mich.).

  • Motion to dismiss pending

Roman Catholic Archbishop of Washington v. Sebelius, 13-5371, 14-5021 (D.C. Cir.).

Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta v. Sebelius, 12-CV-3489 (N.D. Ga).

Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York v. Sebelius, 14-427 (2nd Cir.).

Roman Catholic Diocese of Fort Worth v. Sebelius, 14-10241 (5th Cir.).

Sharpe Holdings v. Sebelius, 12-CV-00092 (E.D. Mo.).

Southern Nazarene University v. Sebelius, 14-6026 (10th Cir.).

The School of the Ozarks, Inc. v. Sebelius, 13-CV-03157 (W.D. Mo.).

  • Motion for summary judgment pending

Union University v. Sebelius, 14-CV-01079 (W.D. Tenn.).

  • Motion for preliminary injunction pending

University of Notre Dame v. Sebelius, 13-3853(7th Cir.).

Wheaton College v. Sebelius, 13-CV-08910 (N.D. Ill.).

Bolded cases where plaintiffs include both not-for-profit and for-profit parties, and therefore appear in both categories

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