Friday, July 20, 2012

Good News: Courts Dismissing Challenges To ACA Contraceptive Rule

Sarah Lipton-Lubet at the ACLU Blog of Rights:


Just one day after a federal court in Nebraska threw out a lawsuit brought by seven anti-Affordable Care Act attorneys general, a federal court in D.C. did the same in a case filed by a religiously affiliated college. On Wednesday, a federal judge dismissed the lawsuit filed by Belmont Abbey College (the first of the two dozen challenges to the birth control rule).

This isn’t the first time that Belmont Abbey College has thumbed its nose at federal laws designed to stop discrimination against women in health care.  In 2009, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission concluded that the College was discriminating against its employees based on their gender because it withheld coverage for prescription birth control, which only women use, while providing insurance coverage for other prescription drugs. But as far as we know, the college is still resisting the EEOC’s decision and has yet to come into compliance. So it came as no surprise when it challenged the administration’s contraception rule, despite the fact that the rule is on solid legal footing, while the college’s claims are bogus.

If Belmont Abbey had its way, as jams pointed out in comments a couple of days ago, its male employees could still get their Viagra, but its female employees would be deprived of birth control.

If this is intended by the College as civil disobedience, it's a damned poor example: it forces people who don't hold the expressed opinion to put themselves at personal risk for that opinion. I propose that the College be assessed a small fine, starting at, say, $5.00 a day the first day, doubling every day until they come into compliance. Ultimately, the fact is that ACA is the law, and we don't get to decide which laws we obey and which we ignore, without incurring penalties.

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