SOUTH BEND, Ind. — In May 2012, the University of Notre Dame filed a legal challenge to the Health and Human Services’ contraception mandate, lending the weight of its institutional prestige to the U.S. bishops’ campaign against the controversial federal law.
“This filing is about the freedom of a religious organization to live its mission, and its significance goes well beyond any debate about contraceptives,” said Notre Dame’s president, Holy Cross Father John Jenkins, in a statement that marked the university’s decision to join a slew of Catholic institutions that filed lawsuits in courts across the nation.
But on Jan. 2, 2014, Notre Dame told faculty and staff that a third-party administrator would notify them about access to “free” contraception and other mandated provisions of the federal law. The news marked the university’s failure to obtain emergency relief from the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago, after a U.S. district court refused to issue a temporary injunction before the Jan. 1 deadline.