Another ACA contraception case may be headed to Supreme Court
A federal appeals court last week sided for the first time against the Obama administration’s policy intended to ensure that employees of not-forprofit religious organizations can get birth control at no cost.
The case is one of many challenging parts of the Affordable Care Act’s mandate that female contraception be considered a preventive healthcare service covered at no out-of-pocket cost.
The U.S. Supreme Court has already granted stays in a number of the contraception coverage cases that have come out of the circuit courts, temporarily halting the government from enforcing the mandate.
The White House has said not-forprofit religious organizations could instead submit a form to their thirdparty administrator or provide information to HHS so the government could arrange contraception coverage for their employees.
Many religious organizations, however, argue that would still violate their beliefs.
Judge Roger Wollman of the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, writing for the panel, said the mandate “is a substantial burden” on the religious organizations.
Seven other circuit courts have ruled in similar cases, but all of them have sided with the government.
“Even though it’s 7-to-1, it becomes nearly certain that the Supreme Court will take one of these cases,” said Douglas Laycock, a law professor at the University of Virginia.
The plaintiffs in the other cases have already petitioned the Supreme Court for review.
The court’s next term begins in October, at which point the justices will meet in conference behind closed doors to decide which cases to hear. Only four of the nine justices must vote to hear a case in order for the court to take it.