So here’s where I think we’ve got to. Governments can do anything, but are constrained by the need to keep sufficient supporters to keep governing. In the case of the US government, this includes not breaching the First Amendment requirement for government not to interfere with the religious freedom of individuals and organisations. This freedom is not an absolute; the government has the right to override it to protect other rights when the harm being caused is sufficiently serious; for example, individuals and organisations cannot claim a first Amendment right to discriminate on the basis of race.
In the case of Catholic organisations and institutions, they have the democratic right to object to and to lobby against a piece of legislation that they object to. Part of this lobbying might include speculating about what they may do if the law is implemented. Like any citizen, they can refuse to comply with the law and take the consequences. However, the Church is obliged to ‘render under Caesar that which is Caesar’s’. This means they should only disobey the law when a law of God takes precedence. Therefore, before taking such a step they are obliged first to exhaust other avenues, to research the matter to see if they can morally comply, and to ensure that the harm being cause is sufficiently serious to justify disobeying the law.
So is the inclusion of contraception (including medications and devices that are suspected of abortaficaent properties) and sterilisation such a matter?
First, from the Government side, is the harm likely to be caused by the lack of employer-funded coverage of contraception and sterilisation sufficient that the right to religious freedom is nullified?
Second, from the US bishops and allies side, is the harm likely to be caused by these organisations making payments for contraception and sterilisation sufficient that they are morally constrained from obeying the law, if it is implemented as it is?