The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has taken an unconstitutional approach to offering exemptions to its birth control benefits mandate, a federal judge in Washington ruled Monday.
HHS lets employers with religious objections to contraceptive services get an exemption from the mandate.
U.S. District Judge Richard Leon ruled Monday that HHS cannot provide an exemption from the mandate for religious nonprofit organizations without making an exemption available for nonreligious nonprofit organizations that hold similar views, Zoe Tillman writes in an article about the ruling for the Legal Times.
Leon sided with March for a Life, a nonreligious group that sued HHS over the mandate exemption.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) requires non-grandfathered group health plans to provide coverage for a basic package of preventive services without imposing cost-sharing requirements on the patients.
PPACA gave the HHS secretary the authority to decide what the package should include. Former HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius decided that the package should include contraceptive products and services.