New York Catholic Groups Win Challenge to Obamacare Birth Control Mandate


A group of Catholic health and educational organizations doesn’t have to comply with federal Affordable Care Act requirements to ensure employees receive insurance coverage for contraceptives, a New York federal judge ruled.

U.S. District Judge Brian Cogan in Brooklyn, New York, in a ruling today, barred the government from enforcing the mandate against Catholic Health Services of Long Island, Catholic Health Care System, Cardinal Spellman High School in the Bronx and Monsignor Farrell High School in Staten Island.

The ruling is the first final decision striking down the mandate for religious nonprofits that object to contraception and don’t meet criteria for an exemption from the law, said Kyle Duncan, general counsel for The Becket Fund, a Washington D.C.- based public-interest law firm that litigates and tracks religious freedom cases.

“We think it’s the right decision,” said Duncan, whose firm isn’t involved in the New York Catholic groups’ case. “It’s good early precedent and we hope that it will be influential to other courts.”

Written By: Christie Smythe
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  1. I am never ceased to be amazed how the US of A can trumpet to the skies how it is the home of the free and cheerfully, without even noticing the contradiction, legislate against the most fundamental of freedoms, and on the flimsiest of all possible grounds, religious dogma.

  2. This is despite the fact that most catholic families sensibly ignore the pope and practise birth-control anyway!

  3. Health care à La carte. What is this, religious freedom to discriminate what constitutes health care and what doesn’t?

  4. So, can an American business owed by a Jehovah’s Witness refuse to cover blood transfusions in its health plan?

  5. Fight on, Catholic bishops! Take the most extreme positions you can imagine! Make yourselves even more irrelevant than you already are!

  6. They’re free to do what they want, but if they want to take federal money they have to abide by federal law. Otherwise they can do what they want in private. That means shutdown, or sell all the Catholic medical facilities and non-profit organizations that receive federal money if they don’t comply. And charge them the $95/mo fine, too, just because.

  7. I sure hope the new top man in Rome sends out a memo to the lower levels managers in the RC’ism industry that contraception and family planning must be considered human rights and that the anti-women rhetoric cease & desist.

  8. Brilliant move, RCC. Encourage your followers to have more children. The world certainly needs more hungry mouths to feed.

  9. In reply to #4 by sgturner59:

    So, can an American business owed by a Jehovah’s Witness refuse to cover blood transfusions in its health plan?

    Yes this ruling is very bad news indeed: it sets a dangerous legal precedent. A supreme court judge tells a journalist that “the devil is a real person” with a straight face and now this. This delivers the message that religiously biased, irresponsible and severely ignorant high court judges are ruling on major social issues in the US legal system and that’s a very unsettling thought.

  10. The principal of giving churches tax free status is usually argued that they are doing the work of the state, feeding poor etc. It’s about time the state stood up for itself and made it clear that state support through tax breaks only occurs when the organisations being run comply with the laws of the state. If they don’t want tax free status they can bloody well get catholic volunteers to do their work for them!

  11. The RCC have always believed that the world revolves around them so this should not be a surprise.

  12. I am astounded that these organizations are allowed to use religion to interfere with governmental affairs.

    That aspect alone should be enough of a leverage point…
    ~ Sure you can justify your objections based upon your ‘Religious’ beliefs – But if you must employ religion as a means to interfere with governmental measures…
    You also lose your tax exempt status…

  13. First, it’s not insurance. It’s not covering a risk. It’s a State-issued requirement to provide free contraceptives on demand, paid for by the insurance company, and ultimately, the church. Surely, you don’t have to be a church to object to being forced to pay for people’s life style choices.

    It’s also a weird violation of the separation of Church and State when we have a disturbing conflict between State Morality and Church Morality. The second is voluntary, the first isn’t. The State has guns and jails, the Church doesn’t.

  14. I believe in the first amendment; they should be allowed to deny Catholics access to birth control, but no one else. When they deny non- Catholics this access, it violates their rights. We will see how long this policy lasts, considering how many Catholics use birth control.

  15. In reply to #14 by John MarcThibault:

    Surely, you don’t have to be a church to object to being forced to pay for people’s life style choices.

    We do that every day in the US. My insurance, not to mention US Medicare and Medicaid, pays for lung cancer contracted by smokers. The insurance pays for diabetes contracted by the obese. The insurance pays for liver cancer contracted by alcoholics. My auto insurance pays for accidents caused by speeders. If the people whose insurance now will not need to pay for contraception have sex anyway and become pregnant, certainly the insurance will then pay for all the prenatal care and for the delivery. How is that different than paying for their lifestyle choices?

    I’m concerned now that this will embolden these groups to the extent where they’ll want to not cover things based on assuming how the condition arose. What if someone becomes pregnant out of wedlock. Most religious groups hate that, so let’s not cover it. What if someone contracts an STD out of wedlock. Must they cover that? Of course no one would think that would be acceptable, but it’s the same idea.

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