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Conlon v Sebelius

Conlon v Sebelius

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Published by Howard Friedman
Opinion
Opinion

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Published by: Howard Friedman on Feb 10, 2013
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UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURTNORTHERN DISTRICT OF ILLINOISEASTERN DIVISIONR. DANIEL CONLON, BISHOP OFTHE ROMAN CATHOLIC DIOCESEOF JOLIET, ILLINOIS, as SuccessorTrustee Under the Provisions of the TrustAgreement Dated December 31, 1949;CATHOLIC CHARITIES DIOCESE OFJOLIET, INC; THE MOST REVERENDTHOMAS JOHN PAPROCKI, ROMANCATHOLIC BISHOP OFSPRINGFIELD-IN-ILLINOIS;CATHOLIC CHARITIES OF THEDIOCESE OF SPRINGFIELD-IN-ILLINOIS; CATHOLIC CHARITIES OFTHE ARCHDIOCESE OF CHICAGO;and SAINT PATRICK HIGH SCHOOL,Plaintiffs,v.KATHLEEN SEBELIUS, in her officialcapacity as Secretary of the U.S.Department of Health and HumanServices; HILDA SOLIS, in her officialcapacity as Secretary of the Departmentof Labor; TIMOTHY GEITHNER; in hisofficial capacity as Secretary of theU.S. Department of the Treasury;U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH ANDHUMAN SERVICES;U.S. DEPARTMENT OF LABOR; andU.S. DEPARTMENT OF TREASURY,Defendants.))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))Case No. 12-cv-3932Judge John W. Darrah
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Case: 1:12-cv-03932 Document #: 54 Filed: 02/08/13 Page 1 of 12 PageID #:613
 
On August 8, 2012, Plaintiffs filed an Amended Complaint, alleging nine separatecounts against Defendants with regards to the enactment and enforcement of the PatientProtection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (“ACA”). Plaintiffs assert that because theyare Catholic, religious entities and employers, the requirements of the ACA to providecontraceptive, sterilization, and abortion services to employees violate Plaintiffs’sincerely held religious beliefs. (Am. Compl. ¶¶ 2-5.) Specifically, Plaintiffs allegeDefendants, in the enactment and enforcement of the ACA, violate the ReligiousFreedom Restoration Act, the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, and theAdministrative Procedure Act. (Am. Compl. ¶¶ 200-304.) Defendants move to dismissPlaintiffs’ Amended Complaint for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction, arguing Plaintiffslack standing, and that the matter is not ripe for adjudication. For the reasons presentedbelow, Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss is granted, and the Amended Complaint isdismissed without prejudice.
BACKGROUND
The instant action is one of many filed across the country, challenging the legalityof the ACA’s regulations regarding contraception and preventative care. In granting asimilar motion to dismiss on the basis of standing and ripeness, Judge Boasberg of theDistrict of D.C. provided a detailed explanation of the statutory history.
See Belmont  Abbey College v. Sebelius
, 878 F. Supp. 2d 25 (D.D.C. 2012) (
 Belmont Abbey
). TheUnited States Department of Health and Human Services enlisted the guidance of theInstitute of Medicine, a private health policy organization, to establish guidelinesregarding preventative health care for the Health Resources and Services Administration2
Case: 1:12-cv-03932 Document #: 54 Filed: 02/08/13 Page 2 of 12 PageID #:614
 
(“HRSA”). The Institute of Medicine suggested, among other proposals, that insuranceplans be required to cover contraceptives and sterilization procedures, includingemergency contraceptives, such as the “morning-after” pill.
 Id.
at 29. HRSA adoptedthese proposed guidelines; and, on August 1, 2011, the Department of Health and HumanServices, the Department of Labor, and the Department of Treasury (“the Departments”)issued an interim final rule, requiring group insurance plans to cover the preventativeservices for women suggested by the Institute of Medicine.
 Id 
. at 29-30 (quoting 76 Fed.Reg. 46621; 45 C.F.R. § 147.130). According to the federal regulation, all insuranceplans and policies, unless specifically exempt, must provide women coverage forcontraceptive services, beginning on August 1, 2012, without any cost-sharingrequirements.
 Id 
.The Departments acknowledged the impact on the religious beliefs of somereligious employers if they were required to cover contraceptive services.
WheatonCollege v. Sebelius
, No. 12-1169, 2012 WL 3637162, at *2 (Aug. 24, 2012 D.D.C.)(
Wheaton College
). The interim final rule gave exemption to certain employers,including churches or religious orders, and other employers that meet the followingcriteria:(1) The inculcation of religious values is the purpose of the organization.(2) The organization primarily employs persons who share the religioustenets of the organization. (3) The organization serves primarily personswho share the religious tenets of the organization. (4) The organization isa nonprofit organization as described in section 6033(a)(1) and section6033(a)(3)(A)(i) or (iii) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, asamended.45 C.F.R. § 147.130(a)(1)(iv)(B). The Departments invited comments to the interim3
Case: 1:12-cv-03932 Document #: 54 Filed: 02/08/13 Page 3 of 12 PageID #:615

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