Given the range of horrible and ridiculous things that happened last week, we were due for something sensible. On Friday, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals denied the University of Notre Dame’s request for a preliminary injunction against the birth control benefit. The decision [PDF], written by Judge Posner and joined by Judge Hamilton, affirmed the district court’s earlier denial of relief.
Notre Dame wanted to get out of signing a form that tells its insurer that it has religious objects to birth control, claiming it was a substantial burden on its religious exercise. Note that if Notre Dame got the relief it was asking for, that could mean all of the women and the female dependents with Notre Dame health insurance would no longer have any access to birth control, even where third parties provide that access. To summarize: Notre Dame isn’t satisfied that it got out of the requirement to cover birth control in its health plan, but wants to make sure othersdon’t provide that access either.
So, it looks more like Notre Dame wants to interfere with the personal health care decisions of its students and employees rather than stay out of them. But, as the 7th Circuit explains, while a religious institution like Notre Dame may refuse to “engage in acts that violate the tenets of its faith, it has no right to prevent other institutions, whether the government or a health insurance company, from engaging in acts that merely offend the institution.” Read more »
Do you think of your sex as Prada or Marshalls? Discount or high end? If you’re not sure, you are probably going to want to read this. Recently, the New York Post published an article about a new short animated film, entitled the “Economics of Sex,” that uses the language of “economics” to explain why marriage rates in the U.S. have hit a historic low.
The piece centers around the idea that there is a supply and demand problem going on with sex — that currently the supply provided by women is too high, and as a result the “price” has dropped since men won’t pay more for something that’s “so easy to find.”
And what’s to blame for this market shift? It’s really original, so hold on. BIRTH CONTROL!! Let’s all run to our pharmacists and return it, because ladies, birth control is a dream-killer. Read more »
Yesterday, the American Heart Association released new prevention guidelines for women regarding stroke. These guidelines are particularly important for women with high blood pressure, which puts them at increased risk for stroke, the third leading cause of death among women. A quick read of the guidelines and reporting about them raises a question. Both pregnancy and birth control pills put women at greater risk for stroke. So what’s a girl who already has high blood pressure but doesn’t want to get pregnant to do? Read more »
Last Friday, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals issued a decision in Gilardi v. HHS, one of the 40 plus lawsuits brought by for-profit companies challenging the health care law’s contraceptive coverage requirement. It requires health insurance plans to include coverage of the full range of FDA-approved forms of birth control. The Gilardis, who own Freshway Foods—a fresh produce processor and packer company (think pre-packaged salad mixes and perfectly pre-chopped carrots) —object to providing birth control in their employee health plan. The D.C. Circuit found in their favor, meaning that Freshway Food’s owners can exclude birth control from their employee health plan. The decision therefore denies women covered by Freshway Food’s health plan the ability to make independent decisions about their health and leaves them to pay higher costs for critical preventive care.
But, they’re asking the Supreme Court to review the decision anyway. Why? Read more »
In a unanimous decision in Autocam v. Sebelius, the 6th Circuit held that a for-profit, secular company is not a ‘“person’ capable of ‘religious exercise’” under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) (RFRA is a federal law that protects an individual’s exercise of religious freedom from substantially burdensome laws where the government did not have a compelling interest in passing the law). Based on this holding, the Autocam companies – Michigan-based manufacturers of auto and medical supplies – can’t bring a RFRA challenge to the Obamacare rule requiring health insurance plans to cover the full range of birth control methods. Oh, and the 6th Circuit held that Autocam’s owners also can’t challenge the rule under RFRA because the birth control requirement is on the company, not the owners.
This means that Autocam’s female employees and dependents will not have access to coverage for the birth control method that’s appropriate for them, without cost sharing. In other words, they finally get to take advantage of this fabulous Obamacare benefit that many of us have been enjoying for a year now. Read more »
I, like many other Georgetown students, let out a sigh of relief upon reading the most recent e-mail from President DeGioia. This e-mail announced that contraceptive coverage would be available to everyone on the University’s insurance plan with no additional cost to them or the University. This controversial change in Georgetown’s insurance policy is occurring thanks to the new health care law which is officially titled the Affordable Care Act, which requires employers to provide contraceptive coverage.
Regulations finalized by the Obama Administration in late June declared that the insurance companies themselves must pay directly for contraceptive services for those at non-profit organizations that oppose providing contraceptive coverage on religious grounds, such as Georgetown. DeGioia believes that these regulations “give us the opportunity to reconcile our religious identity and our commitment to providing access to affordable health care” and I couldn’t agree more. Read more »
Conestoga Wood Specialties is one of the almost 30 plus companies challenging the contraceptive coverage benefit. Conestoga has been arguing that, as a secular, for-profit corporation, it can exercise religious beliefs and that it should be allowed to impose those religious beliefs and the beliefs of its owners on its employees. Today, the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals said, quite simply, “no way!”
The court’s decision makes three important points: (1) Conestoga, as a for-profit, secular corporation, cannot exercise religious beliefs; (2) the Hahns, Conestoga’s owners, cannot impose their religious beliefs on their employees through their company; and (3) the decision does not disrespect the Hahns’ religious objections to contraception. Read more »
Last Thursday, July 11, a district court in Michigan refused to temporarily stop enforcement of the contraceptive coverage benefit against another for-profit corporation. The company challenging the contraceptive coverage benefit is Mersino Management. Mersino Management sells water bypass systems for profit. Indeed, it states that “complete water management is our specialty.” The bosses at Mersino Management also think that they have a special right to decide whether their employees get access to birth control. Specifically, Mersino Management has been arguing in court that for-profit companies can exercise religious beliefs and that bosses’ should be able to impose those religious beliefs on their employees to determine whether employees are able to have birth control coverage. Read more »
And then there are the lawsuits. The lawsuits just keep coming — many from for-profit companies. The cases are challenging the requirement under the health care law that all new insurance plans provide birth control coverage, without cost-sharing.
A new case was filed last week by a West Virginia-based corporation engaged in selling and servicing motor vehicles. While Holland Chevrolet’s 150 full-time employees receive employer based group health insurance, the company has always denied female employees and dependents access to the full range of birth control. Read more »