Federal Court Issues Injunction for UD, Against 'Contraceptive' Provision
Ruling temporarily relieves university from health care mandate
IRVING, Texas (Jan. 2, 2014) The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of
Texas Fort Worth Division has issued a preliminary injunction in favor of the University
of Dallas and against an Affordable Care Act (ACA) provision that would have required
the Catholic institution to provide healthcare coverage including abortion-inducing
products, sterilization or contraceptives. In issuing the injunction, the court exempted
the university from complying with the ACA mandate's Jan. 1, 2014, deadline.
"Providing these types of care is contrary to the values of the University of Dallas
and to the teachings of the Catholic Church," said University of Dallas President
Thomas W. Keefe. "Clearly, the provision is a violation of the First Amendment and
federal civil rights laws."
UD provides health insurance to benefits-eligible employees through a consortium of
private colleges and universities in Texas. Under the law, health plans like that
offered by the University of Dallas are required to include "insurance coverage for
women's preventative care and screenings." In writing the law, Congress did not define
"preventative care," delegating the duty of defining the term to the Department of
Health and Human Services (HHS). HHS, in turn, tasked the Institute of Medicine (IOM)
with developing guidelines. The IOM recommended that women's preventative care include
"the full range of Food and Drug Administration-approved contraceptive methods, sterilization
procedures and patient education and counseling for women with reproductive capacity."
HHS later adopted the IOM's recommendations.