December 31, 2013 // Local

Diocese gains preliminary relief in HHS Lawsuit

FORT WAYNE — The United States District Court, Northern District of Indiana, has entered a preliminary injunction temporarily barring enforcement of the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive mandate against the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend, Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend, Inc, Saint Anne Home and Retirement Community of the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend, Inc., Franciscan Alliance, Inc., Specialized Physicians of Illinois, LLC, University of Saint Francis and Our Sunday Visitor, Inc.

The Court’s order was filed, Friday, Dec. 27 by Judge Jon DeGuilio.

The plaintiffs had filed their first amended verified complaint seeking declaratory and injunctive relief claiming that the government defendants — including Kathleen Sebelius in her capacity as Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Resources — have violated their rights under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993, 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000bb et seq., the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States and the Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. § 500 et seq., by enacting the “contraception mandate,” which requires certain employers to provide coverage for contraception and sterilization procedures in their employee health care plans on a no-cost-sharing basis, or face stiff financial penalties and the risk of enforcement actions for the failure to do so.

The defendants have moved to dismiss the amended complaint. By granting a preliminary injunction, the Court focuses only on plaintiffs’ request for injunctive relief and defendants’ objection in an effort to prevent the possibility of any unjust enforcement of the contraception mandate against plaintiffs beginning Jan. 1, 2014 while the case proceeds to conclusion.

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