Judge Rules ACA Contraceptive Mandate Subject to Religious Objection

U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor of Ft. Worth, Texas, who last year ruled the entire Affordable Care Act (ACA, or Obamacare) unconstitutional, this past week ruled that individuals with religious objections must be allowed to buy insurance without the ACA-mandated contraceptive mandate.


5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Chamber

Judge O’Connor’s prior ruling is on hold pending a July 8 hearing before the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans. This ruling, however, props up a rule issued in November by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), which sought the same religious freedom from the contraceptive clause but ran into legal challenges.

That rule was put on hold in the 13 states covered by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals by a California judge’s ruling.

In the Texas case, the plaintiff — Richard DeOtte — objected primarily to the use of abortifacients as part of the mandate. He chose to go without insurance rather than to submit to the contraceptive mandate.

DeOtte posted online that he and his wife “oppose abortion which is the killing of innocent human life. And while we aren’t opposed to all birth control, we are opposed to birth control that operates as an abortifacient.”

The Supreme Court earlier ruled that forcing family-owned and closely help corporate businesses to buy insurance for their employees with the contraceptive mandate violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) of 1993. Judge O’Connor’s recent ruling segues from that decision.

NOTE: The details in this blog are provided for informational purposes only. All answers are general in nature and do not constitute legal advice. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional should be sought. The author specifically disclaims any and all liability arising directly or indirectly from the reliance on or use of this blog.
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