ACLU of Mass. v. U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, No. 12-1466 (1st Cir. 2013)Annotate this Case
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) received funds appropriated by Congress under the Trafficking Victims Protection Act. In 2006, HHS contracted with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) to provide services to trafficking victims. At USCCB's insistence, the contract incorporated a restriction pursuant to which neither USCCB nor any of its subcontractors would use funding to counsel or provide contraceptive services and prescriptions or abortions to trafficking victims. The ACLU of Massachusetts (ACLUM) brought suit, alleging that HHS violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. In 2012, the district court issued a declaratory judgment that HHS had violated the Establishment Clause. The federal defendants appealed. The First Circuit Court of Appeals vacated on grounds of mootness, where the 2006 contract expired in 2011. Remanded with instructions to dismiss.
The court issued a subsequent related opinion or order on February 19, 2013.