Eternal Word Television Network v. Secretary, No. 14-12696 (11th Cir. 2016)Annotate this Case
In these consolidated appeals, plaintiff challenged the regulations implementing the contraceptive mandate of the Affordable Care Act, 42 U.S.C. 300gg-13(a), arguing that the regulations’ accommodation for nonprofit organizations with a religious objection to providing contraceptive coverage violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), 42 U.S.C. 2000bb, et seq. The court concluded that the regulations do not substantially burden plaintiffs' religious exercise and, alternatively, because (1) the government has compelling interests to justify the accommodation, and (2) the accommodation is the least restrictive means of furthering those interests. The court rejected EWTN’s challenges under the Establishment and Free Exercise Clauses because the accommodation is a neutral, generally applicable law that does not discriminate based on religious denomination. The court also rejected EWTN’s challenge under the Free Speech Clause because any speech restrictions that may flow from the accommodation are justified by a compelling governmental interest and are thus constitutional.
The court issued a subsequent related opinion or order on November 29, 2018.