Contraceptive mandate challenge by Pennsylvania Diocese dismissed on ripeness grounds

In Persico v. Sebelius, (WD PA, Jan. 22, 2013), a Pennsylvania federal district court dismissed on ripeness grounds a challenge to the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive mandate brought by the Catholic Diocese of Erie, Pennsylvania and two organizations affiliated with Pennsylvania Catholic Charities.  As have most other courts that have dealt with challenges to the ACA mandate by religious non-profit employers, the court concluded:

Under the “safe harbor” provisions established by current regulations, Plaintiffs are protected from any potential enforcement action relative to the Mandate until at least January 1, 2014. In addition, the Defendants have repeatedly stated their intent to amend the Mandate, well before January 1, 2014, for the express purpose of accommodating the Plaintiffs’ religiously motivated objections to the regulation.