Senate Bill 514 and House Bill 1185, identical bills that have been introduced in the Tennessee General Assembly, provide protection for students in post-secondary psychology, social work or counselling programmes who, by reason of religious beliefs, are unable to provide a client with the kind of counselling or therapy being sought. The bills require objecting students to refer clients to another counsellor.
The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) has filed a lawsuit against the regulation on behalf of two Ohio companies [Lifenews]. A U.S. District Judge has dismissed suits filed by the Archdiocese of Washington and four other Catholic nonprofit groups on the grounds that the suits are premature [Bloomberg] Lawsuits filed by Colorado Christian University and Notre Dame University in Indiana have also been dismissed [The Coloradoan; First Things]. The Catholic diocese of Nashville, Tennessee and seven other groups in the state are appealing a lower court ruling against them[The Tennessean]. In Illinois, a temporary injunction has been granted against state legislation that is similar to the HHS regulation because the state’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act and Health Care Right of Conscience Act [Georgia Bulletin]. However, the U.S. federal government is appealing a decision to grant a temporary injunction against the HHS regulation to Tyndale House Publishers Inc. of Illinois [Bloomberg].A temporary injunction against the HHS regulation has been granted to a Missouri company, Sharpe Holdings Inc., the third such injunction granted in the state [St. Louis Beacon]. Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli attracted criticism because of his remarks to the effect that the nature of the HHS regulation will only become apparent if people go to jail for refusing to obey it [Reason.com]
For a map and up-to-date overview of lawsuits filed against the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, see the Becket Fund’s HHS Information Central.