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Notre Dame appeals to Supreme Court on birth control case

The University of Notre Dame says the opt-out form to contraceptive coverage is itself a violation of its rights. Will the Supreme Court agree?
Religious freedom supporters hold a rally on June 30, 2014 in Chicago, Ill. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty)
Religious freedom supporters hold a rally on June 30, 2014 in Chicago, Ill.

The next Hobby Lobby just got a little closer to reality, as the University of Notre Dame asked the nation's highest court to intervene in its case against the Obama administration over the coverage -- or non-coverage -- of contraception. The case represents the next front in the battle over contraceptive insurance coverage.

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All insurance plans have to cover contraception under the Affordable Care Act, except for, as of the Supreme Court decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, for-profit companies with religious objections. Houses of worship are already exempt. As a religiously-affiliated non-profit that employs and enrolls people of all faiths, Notre Dame falls into another category entirely. The administration asked religiously-affiliated nonprofits that object to contraception to either fill out a form or write a letter, after which their insurer will cover the contraception directly. Notre Dame, along with plaintiffs in over 50 other lawsuits, says that a letter or form is still a "substantial burden," violating their rights under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. 

"What may seem like an 'administrative' burden to a court may mean much more to a believer," Notre Dame's attorneys wrote.