Priests for Life Secures Religious Freedom Exemption from HHS Mandate in Federal Court

AFLC Senior Counsel Robert Muise and David Yerushalmi

On Thursday, AFLC Senior Counsel Robert Muise and David Yerushalmi presented oral argument in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York (Brooklyn) in support AFLC’s request that the court immediately halt the enforcement of the Obama administration’s “contraception” mandate.  The very next day, the federal government entered into a stipulation that it would not enforce the HHS “contraception” mandate against AFLC’s client, Priests for Life – an international, Catholic, prolife organization – pending a revision in the rules that would protect religious liberty.  The agreement came as a result of the court strongly urging the government to enter into the stipulation.  If an agreement was not reached by December 21st, the court scheduled a hearing for December 26th, at which time it was evident that the court would order the injunction.

Pursuant to the terms of the binding stipulation, the government agreed that it “will not take any enforcement action against [Priests for Life], its group health plans, or the group health insurance coverage provided in connection with such plans, for not covering in the health plans any contraceptive services required to be covered” by the HHS mandate.

The court immediately endorsed the filed stipulation as to injunctive relief, which guarantees that Priests for Life will not be forced to comply with the mandate in 2013.

The request for an injunction is part of AFLC’s federal lawsuit challenging the mandate on behalf of Priests for Life, which was filed jointly with California civil rights attorney Charles S. LiMandri.