Last October, the Trump Administration issued Interim Final Rules that expanded exemptions from the Affordable Care Act contraceptive coverage mandate for organizations, colleges and businesses that have religious or moral objections to furnishing coverage for employees (or enrolled students), as well as for employees who object to having such coverage. (See prior posting.)  Shortly thereafter, the government entered settlement agreements in at least 13 cases conceding that the mandate imposes a substantial burden on plaintiffs’ exercise of religion and, thus, cannot be legally enforced against them under RFRA. (See prior posting).  In December, two separate federal district courts issued nationwide preliminary injunctions against enforcement of the Trump Administration’s expanded exemptions. (See prior postings 1, 2).Now this week in Wheaton College v. Azar, (ND IL, Feb. 22, 2018),  an Illinois federal district court granted Wheaton College a permanent injunction barring enforcement against it of the contraceptive coverage mandate to the extent that the mandate violates Wheaton College’s conscience.  Wheaton is a Christian liberal arts college.  The court’s decision came after the government conceded that enforcement of the mandate against the college would violate the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Becket issued a press release announcing the decision.



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