Another court tosses ACA contraceptive coverage mandate suit on ripeness grounds

Howard Friedman, Religious Freedom

For the second time in two days (see prior posting), a federal district court has dismissed on justiciability grounds a lawsuit challenging the mandate under the Affordable Care Act requiring most health insurance policies to cover contraceptive services. In Belmont Abbey College v. Sebelius, (D DC, July 18, 2012), the federal district court for the District of Columbia held that a Benedictine College could not proceed at this time with its lawsuit claiming that the mandate violates its strongly held religious beliefs against sponsoring any health insurance plan that pays for contraception, sterilization or abortion. The court held that while Belmont Abbey College sufficiently alleged standing, the case should be dismissed on ripeness grounds. It said in part:

[T]he Court has before it a challenge to final regulations that Defendants have promised to amend…. The Court thus concludes … that the Departments’ position on the policy at issue remains indeterminate….. The rulemaking process is still in its early stages, and the contents of the final amendment have not yet been decided. It would thus be premature to find that the amendment will not adequately address Plaintiff’s concerns….

Life News reports on the decision.