Roman Catholic Archbishop v. Burwell

Summarized by:

  • Court: U.S. Supreme Court Certiorari Granted
  • Area(s) of Law: Constitutional Law
  • Date Filed: November 6, 2015
  • Case #: 772 F.3d 229
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia:
  • Full Text Opinion

Whether a religious non profit organization can be deemed exempt from the ACA regulatory requirement to provide contraceptives in their healthcare programs.

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires standard provisions on group health plans, including provisions that cover costs for contraceptives. Various religious groups, including Petitioners, oppose the contraceptive provision because it goes against their religious beliefs.

The District Court concluded that the contraceptive provision does not put a burden on the Petitioners because these religious non profit groups can “opt out” of paying for contraceptives, and the ACA shifts the costs from the employers to the insurers to provide contraceptive coverage for people who are insured but the religious accommodation is in place.

The Petitioner argues this district court ruing is in conflict with the Hobby Lobby case, which gives for profit companies the ability to deny contraceptive care if it forces a company to “engage in conduct that seriously violates their religious beliefs.” As well, they argue there is a circuit court split on how the government can implement contraceptive care to the public; they say the government can deliver contraceptive care without burdening the health care plans of religious non-profits organizations. Finally, they argue the Religious Freedom Restoration Act protects the Government via the ACA from burdening the religious organizations, because unless there is a compelling governmental interest, they should not be subject to the contraceptive provision.

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