Catholic Church Birth-Control Suit Thrown Out by Judge

A Catholic Church lawsuit challenging the birth-control mandate in the Obama Administration’s health-care overhaul was thrown out by a federal judge who said it’s too early to hear the dispute.

Regulations governing the provision of birth control in the law are likely to be supplanted by new rules, making it premature to decide the case now, U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson in Washington decided today in a case filed by the Archdiocese of Washington and four other Catholic nonprofit groups.

“If after the new regulations are issued, plaintiffs are still not satisfied, any challenges that they choose to bring will be substantially different from the challenges in the current complaint,” Jackson wrote.

The Affordable Care Act requires that employer-supplied health care plans cover contraception. The archdiocese and 42 other Catholic organizations, including the University of Notre Dame and the Catholic University of America, filed lawsuits last year arguing that the mandate violates freedom of religion guaranteed in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

The case is Roman Catholic Archbishop of Washington v. Sebelius, 12-cv-0815, U.S. District Court, District of Columbia (Washington).