Well, that was quick. After several chest pounding weeks of rallying the troops around a lawsuit that claimed the Affordable Care Act's contraception mandate violated religious freedom, the sanctimonious roar of Republican Attorneys General from seven states was squished by the gavel of a federal judge who says the case has no merit. What's a quixotic conservative to do?
The ill-fated lawsuit was brought by Republicans from Nebraska, Florida, Michigan, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Texas, along with a few Nebraska religious organizations. The suit claimed that requiring religious-run hospitals, schools, and some charities to allow female employees the option of using their employer-provided medical insurance to purchase contraception and sterilization violated religious freedom, because churchy employers should be able to have the right to make it a big pain the ass for their female employees to not be pregnant. The suit also argued that the notion of providing insurance plans that cover contraception was so awful, so heinous to some holy rollers, that they'd likely attempt to narrow the population they served so that they could qualify for a religious exemption. Throwing the baby out with the bathwater over birth control. How very Christlike.
Judge Warren Urbom, an 86-year-old Nixon federal judge who handled the case, disagreed, saying the Attorneys General didn't have the right to bring a suit against the federal government — religious organizations don't have to immediately comply with the requirement; the administration gave them until 2013 to get their shit together. The feds also plan to allow religious institutions that don't fall under the exemption to pass the entire cost of contraception on to the insurance company, so no priests have to get icky buh-gina cooties on their money.
So now what? The Attorneys General can appeal Judge Urbom's ruling that they don't have the legal standing to file the suit to circuit court. They can also do what other religious organizations have done and just bombard the judicial system with Affordable Care Act lawsuits, continuing to bang their heads against the wall until a grown up tells them to stop. But since most other non-religious employers will be compelled to start covering birth control at no cost next month, time's running out. Maybe the apocalypse will save us all from the indignity of knowing that a woman who works for a Catholic hospital is getting free contraception.