Supreme Court Extends Ruling Allowing Religious Groups to Opt Out of Obamacare Contraceptive Mandate

Nuns attend an antiabortion service marking the 41st anniversary of Roe vs. Wade, hosted by the Little Sisters of the Poor in Scranton, Pa. (Butch Comegys / Scranton Times-Tribune)
Nuns attend an antiabortion service marking the 41st anniversary of Roe vs. Wade, hosted by the Little Sisters of the Poor in Scranton, Pa. (Butch Comegys / Scranton Times-Tribune)

The Supreme Court on Friday shielded the Little Sisters of the Poor and other nonprofit religious groups from complying, for now, with the Obama administration’s rule that they provide free contraceptives in the health insurance they offer employees.

The justices issued a one-paragraph order that keeps in place a temporary injunction that was handed down by Justice Sonia Sotomayor on Dec. 31.

The Little Sisters of the Poor and other Catholic charities objected to the so-called “contraceptive mandate” — a provision of the Affordable Care Act — on religious grounds. Their lawyers said they feared “draconian fines” if they failed to comply with the new rule, which took effect Jan. 1.

Friday’s order says that if Little Sisters and the other nonprofits that filed suit inform the Secretary of Health and Human Services in writing that they have religious objections to providing coverage for contraceptive services, the government may not enforce the provision until the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver rules on their legal challenge.

Catholic leaders say the rule violates their religious freedom because they believe contraceptives are immoral.

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SOURCE: DAVID G. SAVAGE 
The Los Angeles Times

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