The Los Angeles Times reports that the implementation of the contraceptive mandate in the Obama administration's healthcare law is likely to end up in the Supreme Court:
The Supreme Court and the Obama administration, already headed for a face-off in March over the constitutionality of the healthcare law, appear to be on another collision course over whether church-run schools, universities, hospitals and charities must provide free contraceptives to their students and employees.
The dispute stems from one of the more popular parts of the new healthcare law: its requirement that all health plans provide “preventive services” for free. That category includes vaccines and such routine screenings as cholesterol checkups and mammograms. Starting this year, it also includes coverage of birth control pills, IUDs and other contraceptives.
Catholic leaders reacted fiercely when the administration announced in recent days that it would hold most religious institutions to that mandate, even those that have moral and religious objections to what some of their lawyers describe as “abortion-inducing drugs.”
Already two religious colleges have sued, and their cause got a major boost earlier this month from a unanimous Supreme Court decision that greatly expanded the definition of religious freedom.
Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan in New York, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, denounced the requirement as “unconscionable,” saying the church should not be forced “to act as if pregnancy is a disease to be prevented at all costs.”
Women’s rights groups, on the other side, say that without the law’s coverage, hundreds of thousands of women, including students at Catholic universities and workers at church-related hospitals, would be denied coverage for one of the most commonly used forms of healthcare.
For FedSoc's previous coverage of the health care and conscience debate, see here.