Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
October 8, 2015

D.C. Circuit Rules Against Contraception Coverage Mandate

A federal appeals court has ruled the contraception coverage mandate in the Affordable Care Act violates the free exercise of religion.

The ruling by the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit adds to the debate about a provision that factored heavily in the 2012 presidential election and comes amid an effort by President Barack Obama to fill three open slots on the powerful D.C. Circuit with his own nominees. Senate Republicans are blocking those picks, which has Democrats considering whether to use the “nuclear option” to install Obama’s judges.

Similar cases have been brought across the country, and split decisions with other circuits suggest the issue will ultimately be decided by the Supreme Court.

The case was brought by Francis and Philip Gilardi, the equal owners of Freshway Foods and Freshway Logistics.

“As adherents of the Catholic faith, the Gilardis oppose contraception, sterilization, and abortion. Accordingly, the two brothers — exercising their powers as owners and company executives — excluded coverage of products and services falling under these categories,” the court wrote.

But that’s not kosher under the Affordable Care Act as applied by the Obama administration.

“They can either abide by the sacred tenets of their faith, pay a penalty of over $14 million, and cripple the companies they have spent a lifetime building, or they become complicit in a grave moral wrong,” the court wrote.

The 2-1 decision was written by Janice Rogers Brown, an appointee of President George W. Bush.

Niels Lesniewski contributed to this report.

Comments (52)

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  1. teapartyidiots

    Nov. 1, 2013
    1:13 p.m.

    Now we’ve had two courts say yes, and two no. SCOTUS it is.

  2. teapartyidiots

    Nov. 1, 2013
    1:15 p.m.

    Also, can they ask for a full court review.

  3. Cromulent

    Nov. 1, 2013
    1:20 p.m.

    The Obama administration persists in its assault on the First Amendment.

    • teapartyidiots

      Nov. 1, 2013
      1:21 p.m.

      How does you inflicting your religion on me not violate MY first amendment rights?

      • Cromulent

        Nov. 1, 2013
        2:05 p.m.

        Yours aren’t violated.

        • teapartyidiots

          Nov. 1, 2013
          2:52 p.m.

          Having to have your religious stupidity control my life when I thought I was working for a secular company sure does.

          • Paulii

            Nov. 5, 2013
            4:39 p.m.

            Let’s look at both sides here. If you want that kind of coverage, you should be able to have it, if you pay for it. If a private employer chooses to only offer plans that exclude this coverage, maybe a disclosure is in order prior to employment so that people of your belief can avoid people of that belief? The reality is that none of us want those “other” people telling us what to do. So in a free society, an employer should be able to act on his own religious beliefs, and an employee should be able to exercise their freedom as well.

            Maybe another solution would be to offer a paid rider that the employee can opt-in to, so that the employee can choose, and pay for, that additional coverage?

            My reality is that I don’t want to make people do what they don’t want to do – whether is it either side of abortion, or any other personal decision. Government has become far too powerful, with one group trying to force another group to do what “they” want them to do. We keep this up and we will all end up either self-employed with no employees, independent contractors, or government workers. I say that as the regulations being foisted on employers is becoming a real disincentive to stay in business.

          • teapartyidiots

            Nov. 5, 2013
            4:59 p.m.

            The rider idea isn’t a bad one.

          • Cromulent

            Nov. 12, 2013
            12:32 p.m.

            Maybe we need to stop tying health insurance to employment status.

          • Cromulent

            Nov. 12, 2013
            12:31 p.m.

            Nothing is stopping you from using the $ you make to go out and buy these same products. This doesn’t violate your rights.

    • kernals

      Nov. 1, 2013
      4:10 p.m.

      just admit it, you don’t like the mandate because you can’t get laid so you want to ruin it for everyone else

      • Cromulent

        Nov. 12, 2013
        12:29 p.m.

        Um, no. Married 18 yrs. Not a problem. Projection maybe?

  4. reya88

    Nov. 1, 2013
    2:07 p.m.

    The vast majority of employee health care already covers contraception.
    True Religious organizations (ie Churches, Church run hospitals..) are exempt from this law.
    If you give private (non-religious) business to pick and choose what they will offer (or not offer) as health care options you are basically allowing one persons religious believe to override the individual’s religious belief (or non-belief). Which does violate the 1st amendment.
    I find also ironic that these companies screaming not to cover contraception would throw a fit if this also made losing any erectile dysfunction pill coverage.

  5. Berkshire_Boy

    Nov. 1, 2013
    3:54 p.m.

    ” or they become complicit in a grave moral wrong,” the court wrote.”

    Some judge actually wrote that in a legal opinion? Oy Vey.

    • Chip Kempston

      Nov. 1, 2013
      4 p.m.

      What’s surprising about that? That’s what freedom of religion is supposed to reasonably protect. Agree or not, Catholics have opposed contraception and abortion since before there was a United States of America.

      • Hawkeye

        Nov. 3, 2013
        9:30 a.m.

        Show me one for-profit corporation that has been baptized into any reputable Church.

        • Chip Kempston

          Nov. 4, 2013
          10:46 a.m.

          Let me guess, you think corporations don’t have rights and should not, but unions do. How very consistent.

          • Hawkeye

            Nov. 4, 2013
            2:22 p.m.

            I didn’t say one thing about unions. You are right you are guessing. Off subject too.

          • Chip Kempston

            Nov. 4, 2013
            2:31 p.m.

            It’s not off-topic and this response is disingenuous. You brought up “baptizing a corporation,” the implication of which is quite clearly: that corporations are not people and don’t have rights. The point of my response was to illustrate your corrupt and inconsistent view of who has rights and who does not. Thanks for playing.

  6. Hawkeye

    Nov. 3, 2013
    9:29 a.m.

    Wait a minute, how can a for-profit business corporation claim a religious affiliation in the first place to even have standing in this? The employees in question are corporate employees unless I miss my guess; so the religious affiliations of the owners of shares in that corporation should be irrelevant to corporate employee treatment requirements. Nobody said this one had to hire anyone either. If it don’t like what must be provided for employees it need not have any. But it does and so must meet at least the minimum employee standards provided by law.

    • loony

      Nov. 5, 2013
      2:07 p.m.

      the Catholic church is one of the richest for-profit businesses in the world.
      they do contribute a lot to help those in need but they still keep most of the funds they collect in their own bank.

      why should one business or entity have special privileges, freedoms and, rights that are being denied to everyone else?

      apparently equality for all has joined the dodo bird in extinction.

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