DOJ: Courts should stop hearing contraception mandate challenges

Courts shouldn't hear challenges to the reform law's contraception mandate because the federal government will soon issue a new proposed rule on the requirement, the U.S. Department of Justice argued in federal court Friday.

The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services will release a proposed rule by next March that will address the reform law's requirement that employers include contraceptive coverage in health plans offered to their workers, Politico reported. Since that rule will be finalized by August, DOJ attorneys argued there's no reason to move forward cases that challenge the mandate.

But the attorney for religious colleges Wheaton and Belmont Abbey said they are challenging the mandate on the issue's "rightness," not its timeliness. Plus, he said there's no guarantee that HHS will finalize the rule by August, according to the National Catholic Reporter.

"We've never seen a notice of proposed rulemaking" regarding any modification, Kyle Stuart Duncan of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty told the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

More than 40 lawsuits have been filed over the reform law's contraception mandate, but only one federal judge in New York ruled against HHS. In that decision, Judge Brian Cogan said there's no "'trust us, changes are coming' clause in the Constitution," NCR noted.

Meanwhile, the founder and former owner of Domino's Pizza has filed the most recent lawsuit against HHS over the reform law's contraception mandate. Tom Monaghan, who sold Domino's more than 10 years ago, claims the contraception mandate violates his Catholic faith and is, therefore, asking for an injunction blocking the enforcement of the mandate, the Albany Tribune.

To learn more:
- read the Politico article
- see the National Catholic Reporter article
- check out the Albany Tribune article

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