Supreme Court Reopens Notre Dame Bid to Bypass Birth Control Coverage

By | March 9, 2015

The U.S. Supreme Court told a lower court to reconsider whether the University of Notre Dame must comply with Obama administration regulations for the Affordable Care Act that aim to ensure contraceptive coverage for employees and students.

The order gives the Catholic university a new chance to argue that it is being improperly forced to violate its religious beliefs by facilitating what it considers to be abortion. A federal appeals court said Notre Dame had to comply with the regulations, which implement the 2010 Affordable Care Act.

The regulations let Notre Dame and other objecting employers opt out of the requirement to cover birth control by notifying the Department of Health and Human Services. Under the rules, the government then arranges with the insurer or health- plan administrator to provide contraceptive coverage.

Notre Dame, located just outside South Bend, Indiana, contends the opt-out provision is insufficient to protect its religious rights.

In ordering reconsideration, the Supreme Court pointed to its ruling last year on a separate issue. The court ruled that closely held for-profit companies can refuse on religious grounds to offer birth-control coverage to their workers.

The case is University of Notre Dame v. Burwell, 14-392.

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