Health plan for U.S. Catholic group exempt from contraceptives coverage

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A federal judge has now granted an injunction to almost 200 employers for this temporary change.

condoms contraception health planAccording to the Affordable Care Act, contraceptives must be covered by every health plan that complies with this law, but a federal judge has now changed this, slightly, by granting an injunction to almost 200 Catholic employers in order to temporarily stop the U.S. government from being able to force them to offer this protection.

This injunction was the outcome of a lawsuit filed in march by the Catholic Benefits Association.

The Catholic Benefits Association alleges that the health care reform has required them to provide a health plan benefit that is in violation with their religious objections. The coverage of contraception and drugs that will induce abortion are, according to the group, directly against their religious beliefs. In Oklahoma City, U.S. District Judge David Russell has responded by granting an injunction to the members of that group that will exempt them from having to pay any penalties or fines that would occur as a result of noncompliance with that specific provision of the Affordable Care Act, during the time in which their objections are under litigation.

The association feels that a health plan covering contraception goes against their religious teachings.

That group includes archdiocese, as well as a nursing home and an insurance company, and spans nearly 2,000 Catholic parishes across the United States. It feels strongly that health care should be provided to the employees of the ministries. However, according to Russell, its members “also believe in the Catholic teaching that any artificial interference with the creation and nurture of new life is wrong.”

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Russell pointed out that “The harm posed to these plaintiffs absent relief is quite tangible – they will either face severe monetary penalties or be required to violate their religious beliefs.”

At the time of the writing of this article, Bradley P Humphreys, from the U.S. Department of Justice, and the trial attorney representing the government, declined the opportunity to make a comment on the case. At the same time, Catholic officials stepped forward to praise the decision to alter their health plan regulations, at least temporarily.

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