National Partnership for Women & Families

In the News

Judges Grant Injunction to Ill. Business, Throw Out Notre Dame Contraceptive Coverage Case

Judges Grant Injunction to Ill. Business, Throw Out Notre Dame Contraceptive Coverage Case

January 7, 2013 — A federal judge on Thursday granted Triune Health Group, a for-profit company based in Illinois, a temporary injunction against the federal contraceptive coverage rules, CQ HealthBeat reports.

The company's Catholic owners, Christopher and Mary Anne Yep, object to covering emergency contraception or sterilization in their employee health plan because they believe the practices are "gravely wrong and sinful," according to the lawsuit.

U.S. District Judge Amy St. Eve cited a recent appellate court ruling in Chicago that found for-profit Korte & Luitjohan Contractors "established a reasonable likelihood of success on the merits and irreparable harm, with the balance of harms tipping in their favor." St. Eve said her ruling came "[i]n light of this binding precedent" (Norman, CQ HealthBeat, 1/4).

According to court documents, Triune's health plan currently covers abortion, contraception and sterilization, but the Yeps say the coverage was a mistake (St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 1/4).

Triune is the 10th for-profit company to obtain an injunction against the rules, according to the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which represents some of the plaintiffs in the cases (CQ HealthBeat, 1/4).

Notre Dame Case Dismissed

In related news, U.S. District Judge Robert Miller on Monday dismissed the University of Notre Dame's lawsuit against the contraceptive coverage rules, The Hill's "Healthwatch" reports (Viebeck, "Healthwatch," The Hill, 1/4).

HHS has given religiously affiliated entities, such as colleges and hospitals, a one-year delay period to come into compliance with the rules, and religious institutions, such as churches and synagogues, are exempt altogether (Women's Health Policy Report, 12/12/12).

Miller said the school qualifies for the safe-harbor period and noted that the Obama administration has pledged to accommodate religious institutions that insure themselves. Notre Dame self-insures for its employee health plans but offers students a plan administered by Aetna.

"Notre Dame lacks standing to attack the present regulatory requirement because it isn't subject to that requirement, and, taking the defendants at their word, never will be subject to the present regulation," Miller wrote in his decision ("Healthwatch," The Hill, 1/4).

Pa. Company Granted Two-Week Stay

Meanwhile, a U.S. District Court in Pennsylvania granted a two-week stay against the contraceptive coverage rules to Conestoga Wood Specialties on Dec. 28, 2012.

The company's Mennonite owners object to the law on religious grounds.

The stay was granted to allow more time for arguments and filings (CQ HealthBeat, 1/4).