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Yet Another Lawsuit Contests the Birth Control Benefit

Jessica Mason Pieklo

A lawsuit in Tennessee becomes the latest to challenge the contraception mandate in Obamacare.

The same day a district court judge in Washington D.C. temporarily blocked the birth control benefit from applying to a for-profit Christian bookseller a group of Roman Catholic nonprofits in Tennessee is asking a federal judge there to issue a similar order.

The lawsuit was filed by the Diocese of Nashville on behalf of the Villa Maria Manor, Mary Queen of Angels, and the St. Mary Villa Child Development Center. All three organizations at some point prior to the announcement of the birth control mandate started providing contraceptive coverage to their employees without realizing it. In response to public outcry by some religious groups over the mandate the Obama administration announced a one-year safe harbor where the mandate would not be enforced for some religious nonprofits while the administration looks at ways to try and accommodate their concerns. Because these nonprofits were already providing contraceptive coverage at the time of the announcement the insurance company determined the safe harbor provision did not apply to them.

It’s worth noting the heart of the complaint by the Dioceses is that their insurance company made the wrong decision when determining the scope of benefits available–exactly the kind of decisions health care reform seeks to address. If the Dioceses is upset about the safe harbor determination that’s an issue they need to first address with their insurance company. And if the Dioceses objects so strongly to providing comprehensive health care coverage for their employees you would think they would more closely monitor those benefits. That neither of those two things have happened speaks volumes to motivations behind these kinds of lawsuits. 

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