Injunction granted in US birth control lawsuit

December 21, 2013 by Tim Talley

A U.S. judge granted an injunction Friday that prohibits the government from enforcing the federal health care law's requirement that insurance coverage include access to the morning-after pill and similar contraceptives on almost 200 religious organizations that have filed a class-action lawsuit to block the mandate.

The issued by U.S. District Judge Timothy DeGiusti will prevent the government from enforcing the mandate as the religious groups' lawsuit makes its way through the legal system. The lawsuit was filed in October on behalf of 187 ministries that provide their employees with through GuideStone Financial Resources, the health benefits arm of the Southern Baptist Convention.

In the lawsuit, the ministries object to providing four out of 20 Food and Drug Administration-approved , including the morning-after pill and the week-after pill, which they allege may cause early abortions. The include Reaching Souls International, which trains pastors and cares for orphans in Africa, India and Cuba, and Truett-McConnell College, a Georgia Baptist college.

In his 16-page decision, DeGiusti said the ministries have the right to challenge the 's contraceptive mandate and that an injunction is needed to prevent the from enforcing it on them.

The lawsuit is similar to one filed in Oklahoma City last year by Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., which calls itself a "biblically founded business." That lawsuit also challenges the mandate that employers provide coverage for the morning-after pill and similar drugs. In July, a federal judge granted a temporary exemption to the Oklahoma City-based arts and crafts chain, a ruling the government has appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Hobby Lobby's lawsuit claims the government mandate is forcing the Christian family that owns the chain "to violate their deeply held religious beliefs under threat of heavy fines, penalties and lawsuits." Failure to provide the drugs in the company's plan could lead to fines of up to $1.3 million a day, the company said.

Hobby Lobby's owners have said they believe life begins at conception, and they oppose birth control methods that can prevent implantation of a fertilized egg in the uterus, such as an intrauterine device or forms of emergency contraception.

An attorney for the government, Benjamin J. Berwick, did not immediately return a telephone call seeking comment.

Explore further: Hobby Lobby asks judge to block health care law

Related Stories

Hobby Lobby asks judge to block health care law

November 1, 2012

(AP)—An arts and craft supply company says part of the new federal health care law should be blocked because it requires coverage for morning-after and week-after birth control pills.

High court asked to block morning-after pill rule

December 21, 2012

(AP)—Hobby Lobby Stores is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to block part of the federal health care law that requires it to provide insurance coverage for the morning-after pill and similar emergency contraception pills.

Obama birth control mandates loosens lawsuits

January 27, 2013

(AP)—The legal challenges over religious freedom and the birth control coverage requirement in President Barack Obama's health care overhaul appear to be moving toward the U.S. Supreme Court.

Judge grants injunction in Hobby Lobby case

July 19, 2013

(AP)—A federal judge is temporarily exempting Hobby Lobby Inc. from a provision in the new federal health care law that requires it to offer insurance coverage for the morning-after pill and similar birth control or face ...

Supreme Court will take up new health law dispute (Update)

November 26, 2013

The Supreme Court agreed Tuesday to referee another dispute over President Barack Obama's trouble-plagued health care law, whether businesses can use religious objections to escape a requirement to cover birth control for ...

Supreme Court to take up birth control religion case

November 26, 2013

The US Supreme Court said Tuesday it will take up a case involving a firm seeking to limit the availability of birth control to female employees enrolled in a company health plan on religious grounds.

Recommended for you

Older people getting smarter, but not fitter

August 31, 2015

Older populations are scoring better on cognitive tests than people of the same age did in the past —a trend that could be linked to higher education rates and increased use of technology in our daily lives, say IIASA population ...

Higher intelligence score means better physical performance

August 14, 2015

New research reveals a distinct association between male intelligence in early adulthood and their subsequent midlife physical performance. The higher intelligence score, the better physical performance, the study reveals. ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.