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Appeals Court To Reconsider Notre Dame Contraception Case

UC Irvine

The U.S. Supreme Court threw out an appeals court decision on Monday that denied the University of Notre Dame’s religious objections to the contraception requirement of the Affordable Care Act.

The 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is being asked to reconsider its decision in Notre Dame v. Burwell, which ruled in favor of the Obama administration, after the Supreme Court’s June 2014 Hobby Lobby ruling that exempts closely held corporations from that portion of the law.

Notre Dame is arguing it should not be required to provide its employees with birth control because that goes against its religious beliefs.

An appeals court denied that argument in February 2014, saying the Obama administration had provided adequate alternatives, such as using federal dollars to pay a third party insurance company that would then provide the contraceptive coverage.

But a few months later, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of Hobby Lobby after that company said it should not be required to provide contraceptives either.

Indiana University law professor Dan Conkle says in light of the Hobby Lobby case, the appeals court needs to reconsider its decision.

“But it would not be at all surprising for the 7th Circuit to take a look at it and say, ‘Yes, we were right the first time, and we reaffirm what we said there.’”

Conkle says similar cases that have been decided since the Hobby Lobby ruling have upheld the healthcare mandate.

Notre Dame’s lawyer says he is not commenting on the case.

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