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Constitutional Law — freedom of religion

United States Court of Appeals For the Seventh Circuit


Constitutional Law — freedom of religion — contraception mandate

The mandate requiring employers to provide coverage for contraception and sterilization procedures in their employee health-care plans on a no-cost-sharing basis likely violates the RFRA, and is preliminarily enjoined.

“The appeals have now been briefed and argued and are ready for decision. Plenary review has confirmed our earlier judgment. These cases—two among many currently pending in courts around the country—raise important questions about whether business owners and their closely held corporations may assert a religious objection to the contraception mandate and whether forcing them to provide this coverage substantially burdens their religious-exercise rights. We hold that the plaintiffs—the business owners and their companies—may challenge the mandate. We further hold that compelling them to cover these services substantially burdens their religious-exercise rights. Under RFRA the government must justify the burden under the standard of strict scrutiny. So far it has not done so, and we doubt that it can. Because the RFRA claims are very likely to succeed and the balance of harms favors protecting the religious-liberty rights of the plaintiffs, we reverse and remand with instructions to enter preliminary injunctions barring enforcement of the mandate against them.”


12-3841 & 13-1077 Korte v. Sebelius

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, Barker, J., Sykes, J.

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