Federal Appeals Court says administration must fulfill vow to revise HHS mandate
The conservative online news service, Newsmax, is reporting late Friday that the Washington, D.C., Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the Obama administration must follow through on a vow to revise requirements for employers who offer health insurance to fund contraception for employees. Newsmax cited its source as Fox News.
Wheaton College and Belmont Abbey College are among several religiously-affiliated institutions that filed suit over the contraception mandate, saying that it violates their First Amendment-protected beliefs, reported Fox News.
The ruling did not overturn the mandate itself, which includes an exemption for religious institutions themselves, such as churches, but not for ones like hospitals.
Even before suits had been filed, the administration had said it would craft a system to exempt appropriate institutions, which the Court called a “binding commitment” in its ruling.
“The D.C. Circuit has now made it clear that government promises and press conferences are not enough to protect religious freedom,” said Kyle Duncan, general counsel for the Becket Fund. “The court is not going to let the government slide by on non-binding promises to fix the problem down the road.”
Expecting a new policy on contraception to be finished sometime in the first quarter of 2013, the Court is requiring the administration to file progress reports on the pending policy every 60 days.