Court Rules that Obamacare’s Contraceptive Coverage isn’t a Burden on Religion

Nuns from the Little Sisters of the Poor order attend Mass in Washington. A federal appeals court in Denver ruled that the federal health care law does not burden religious organizations that object to covering birth control in their employee health plans. (Credit: Gabriella Demczuk for The New York Times)
Nuns from the Little Sisters of the Poor order attend Mass in Washington. A federal appeals court in Denver ruled that the federal health care law does not burden religious organizations that object to covering birth control in their employee health plans. (Credit: Gabriella Demczuk for The New York Times)

A federal appeals court Tuesday handed the Obama administration another victory in its effort to guarantee coverage of contraceptives under the Affordable Care Act, rejecting a challenge by the Little Sisters of the Poor, an order of Roman Catholic nuns.

The United States Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit, in Denver, found that the nuns could opt out of a requirement to provide contraceptive coverage under an “accommodation” devised by the administration. The rule does not impose a “substantial burden” on the nuns’ free exercise of religion, the court said.

Four other federal appeals courts — in the District of Columbia, Philadelphia, Chicago and New Orleans — have issued similar decisions upholding the accommodation, which is intended to address the concerns of nonprofit religious organizations that object to providing contraceptive coverage for women enrolled in their health plans.

In the decision on Tuesday, Judge Scott M. Matheson Jr. called opting out of contraceptive coverage a routine administrative task, “as easy as obtaining a parade permit, filing a simple tax form or registering to vote.”

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SOURCE: ROBERT PEAR
The New York Times

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