Challenges to the Federal Contraceptive Coverage Rule

March 13, 2015

In Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., 13-354 and Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp. v. Burwell, 13-356, the Supreme Court held that closely held corporations can refuse to comply with the federal contraception rule based on their religious beliefs. The decision is here. 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, 101 cases have been filed challenging the rule as an infringement on religious liberty. 91 of these cases are currently pending: 42 cases brought by nonprofit organizations, 45 cases brought by for-profit companies, and 4 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 49 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 (Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., 13-354) and another from a Pennsylvania-based furniture manufacturer (Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp. v. Burwell, 13-356).  On June 30, the Supreme Court held that closely held corporations can refuse to comply with the federal contraception rule based on their religious beliefs. 

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 46 nonprofit cases currently pending.

The cases that are currently pending (91 by our count) are listed below, broken out into profit and nonprofit. Four 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 contraception 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 March 13, 2015

 

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 contraception 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.

NOT-FOR-PROFIT CASES

Plaintiff

Status

Archdiocese of St. Louis, 13-cv-02300 (E.D. Mo.).

Association of Christian Schools International, 14-cv-02966 (D. Colo.).

Ave Maria Foundation, 13-cv-15198 (E.D. Mich.).

Ave Maria School of Law, 13-cv-00795 (M.D. Fla.).

Ave Maria University, 13-cv-00630 (M.D. Fla.).

Belmont Abbey College, 13-cv-01831 (D.D.C.).

  • Complaint filed

Brandt, 14-cv-00681 (W.D. Pa.).

Catholic Benefits Association LCA, 14-cv-00240 (W.D. Okla.).

Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, 14-cv-03096 (E.D. Pa.).

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

Catholic Diocese of Biloxi, Inc., 14-cv-00146 (S.D. Miss.).

  • Complaint filed

Catholic Diocese of Nashville, 13-cv-01303 (M.D. Tenn.), 13-6640 (6th Cir.).

Christian and Missionary Alliance Foundation, Inc., 14-cv-00580 (M.D. Fla.).

Colorado Christian University, 13-cv-3350 (D. Colo.).

Diocese of Cheyenne, 14-cv-00021 (D. Wyo.).

Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend, Inc., 12-cv-00159 (N.D. Ind.).

Dobson, 13-cv-03326 (D. Colo.).

Dordt College, 13-cv-04100 (N.D. Iowa).

East Texas Baptist University, 12-cv-03009 (S.D. Tex.).

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

Fellowship of Catholic University Students, 13-cv-03263 (D. Colo.).

Geneva College, 12-cv-00207 (W.D. Pa.), 13-3536 (3d Cir.), 14-1374 (3d Cir.).

Grace Schools, 12-cv-00459 (N.D. Ind.).

Insight for Living Ministries, 14-cv-00675 (E.D. Tex.).

Liberty University, 10-cv-00015 (W.D. Va.), 10-2347 (4th Cir.).

Legatus, 12-cv-12061 (E.D. Mich.).

Little Sisters of the Poor Home for the Aged, 13-cv-02611 (D. Colo.).

Louisiana College, 12-cv-00463 (W.D. La.).

March for Life, 14-cv-01149 (D.D.C.).

  • Complaint filed

Media Research Center, 14-cv-00379 (E.D. Va.).*

Michigan Catholic Conference, 13-cv-01247 (W.D. Mich.), 13-2723 (6th Cir.).

Persico, 13-cv-00303 (W.D. Pa.), 14-1376 (3d Cir.).

Priests for Life, 13-cv-01261 (D.D.C.), 13-5368 (D.C. Cir.).

Reaching Souls International, Inc., 13-cv-01092 (W.D. Okla.).

Right to Life of Michigan, 13-cv-01202 (W.D. Mich.).

  • Complaint filed

Roman Catholic Archbishop of Washington, 13-cv-01441 (D.D.C.), 13-5371 (D.C. Cir.).

Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta, 12-cv-03489 (N.D. Ga.).

Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York, 12-cv-02542 (E.D.N.Y.).

Roman Catholic Diocese of Fort Worth, 12-cv-00314 (N.D. Tex.).

Sharpe Holdings, Inc., 12-cv-00092 (E.D. Mo.).

Southern Nazarene University, 13-cv-01015 (W.D. Okla.).

School of the Ozarks, Inc., 13-cv-03157 (W.D. Mo.).

Union University, 14-cv-01079 (W.D. Tenn.).

  • Motion for preliminary injunction granted by district court

University of Notre Dame, 13-cv-01276 (N.D. Ind.), 13-3853 (7th Cir.).

Valley Forge Christian College Assemblies of God, 14-cv-04622 (E.D. Pa.).

  • Complaint filed

Wheaton College, 13-cv-08910 (N.D. Ill.).

Zubik, 13-cv-01459 (W.D. Pa.), 14-1377 (3d Cir.).

 

FOR-PROFIT CASES

Plaintiff

Status

American Pulverizer Co., 12-cv-03459 (W.D. Mo.).

Annex Medical, Inc., 12-cv-02804 (D. Minn.), 13-1118 (8th Cir.).

Armstrong, 13-cv-00563 (D. Colo.), 13-1480 (10th Cir.).

Autocam Corp., 12-cv-01096 (W.D. Mich.), 13-2316 (6th Cir.).

Barron Industries, Inc., 13-cv-01330 (D.D.C.).

Beckwith Electric Co., 13-cv-00648 (M.D. Fla.).

Bick Holding, Inc., 13-cv-00462 (E.D. Mo.).

Briscoe, 13-cv-00285 (D. Colo.).

Catholic Benefits Association LCA, 14-cv-00240 (W.D. Okla.).

Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp., 12-cv-06744 (E.D. Pa.), 13-1144 (3d Cir.), 13-356 (S. Ct.).

C.W. Zumbiel Co., 13-cv-01611 (D.D.C.).

  • Motion for preliminary injunction granted by district court

Doboszenski & Sons, Inc., 13-cv-03148 (D. Minn.).

Domino's Farms Corp., 12/cv/15488 (E.D. Mich.).

Eden Foods, Inc., 13-cv-11229 (E.D. Mich.), 13-1677 (6th Cir.).

Feltl and Company, Inc., 13-cv-01374 (D. Minn.).

Geneva College, 12-cv-00207 (W.D. Pa.).

Gilardi, 13-cv-00104 (D.D.C.), 13-5069 (D.C. Cir.).

Grote Industries, LLC, 12-cv-00134 (S.D. Ind.), 13-1077 (7th Cir.).

Hall, 13-cv-00295 (D. Minn.).

Hartenbower, 13-cv-02253 (N.D. Ill.).

Hastings Automotive, Inc., 14-cv-00265 (D. Minn.).

Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., 12-cv-01000 (W.D. Okla.), 12-6294 (10th Cir.), 13-354 (S. Ct.).

Holland, 13-cv-15487 (S.D. W.Va.).

Infrastructure Alternatives, Inc., 13-cv-00031 (W.D. Mich.).

Johnson Welded Products, Inc., 13-cv-00609 (D.D.C.).

Korte, 12-cv-01072 (S.D. Ill.), 12-3841 (7th Cir.).

Legatus, 12-cv-12061 (E.D. Mich.).

Lindsay, 13-cv-01210 (N.D. Ill.).

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

  • Complaint filed

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

  • Complaint filed

Mersino Management Co., 13-cv-11296 (E.D. Mich.).

Midwest Fastener Corp., 13-cv-01337 (D.D.C.).

M.K. Chambers Co., 13-cv-11379 (E.D. Mich.).

Newland, 12-cv-01123 (D. Colo.), 12-1380 (10th Cir.).

O Brien, 12-cv-00476 (E.D. Mo.), 12-3357 (8th Cir.).

Ozinga, 13-cv-03292 (N.D. Ill.).

QC Group, Inc., 13-cv-01726 (D. Minn.).

Randy Reed Automotive, Inc., 13-cv-06117 (W.D. Mo.).

Sharpe Holdings, Inc., 12-cv-00092 (E.D. Mo.).

Sioux Chief Mfg. Co., 13-cv-00036 (W.D. Mo.).

SMA, LLC, 13-cv-01375 (D. Minn.).

Stewart, 13-cv-01879 (D.D.C.).

Stinson Electric, Inc., 14-cv-00830 (D. Minn.).

Tonn and Blank Construction, LLC, 12-cv-00325 (N.D. Ind.).

Trijicon, Inc., 13-cv-01207 (D.D.C.).

Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 12-cv-01635 (D.D.C.).

Williams, 13-cv-01699 (D.D.C.).

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

Yep, 12-cv-06756 (N.D. Ill.).

 

*Only seeking court confirmation that the accommodation applies.

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

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