January 17, 2013 — A private business in Missouri on Monday filed a lawsuit challenging the federal contraceptive coverage rules that are being implemented under the Affordable Care Act (PL 111-148), CQ HealthBeat reports.
Lawyers, including those with Alliance Defending Freedom, filed the lawsuit on behalf of Sioux Chief Manufacturing, a plumbing products company owned by a Catholic family, in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri. Sioux Chief, which is self-insured, will be required to begin offering contraceptive coverage to its 370 employees on April 1, when the company's new health plan takes effect.
The suit states that the company is owned by members of the Ismert family, who "seek to run Sioux Chief in a manner that reflects their sincerely held religious beliefs." The Ismerts feel that "it would be sinful and immoral for them to intentionally participate in, pay for, facilitate, or otherwise support abortifacient drugs, contraception, or elective sterilization, through health insurance coverage they offer at Sioux Chief," the suit contends.
To date, 16 lawsuits have been filed by for-profit companies against the contraceptive coverage rules, according to the Alliance. Court decisions to grant preliminary injunctions have been mixed, CQ HealthBeat notes (Norman, CQ HealthBeat, 1/16).
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