Seven U.S. states lost their federal court bid to block a government mandate requiring religious organizations to offer their employees insurance coverage for birth-control.
U.S. District Judge Warren K. Urbom in Lincoln, Nebraska, ruled yesterday that Catholic schools, organizations and individuals cited by the states lack standing to challenge the rule.
Even if they did, the judge said, the contraceptive requirements are “not being forced against non-exempted religious organizations, and the rule is currently undergoing a process of amendment to accommodate these organizations,” Urbom wrote. The states that sued “face no direct and immediate harm, and one can only speculate whether the plaintiffs will ever feel any effects from the rule,” he said.
Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning filed the complaint in February, claiming that the requirement violates free exercise of religion and freedom of speech rights. Florida, Michigan, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Texas joined the case.