Human Rights

Catholic nuns score another victory against Obamacare birth control mandate

The US Supreme Court will be hearing a case on the constitutionality of a buffer zone in front of abortion clinics (Photo Credit: on Flickr)
The Supreme Court at sunset

The United States Supreme Court.

Friday afternoon came with a victory for the Little Sisters, the group of Roman Catholic nuns who filed suit against the Obamacare birth control mandate.  The order handed down today in the case of Little Sisters of the Poor v. Sebelius (application 13A691), was issued without any notes of dissent from the Supreme Court. It says that the Little Sisters do not have to file the government form claiming an exemption, a matter they argued would make them complicit in the abortion aspects of the mandate.

The report from the court blog says that, “If a religious group objects to those services, as the Little Sisters order does, it is required to file a form –  EBSA Form 700 — claiming an exemption.  The Little Sisters told the Supreme Court that even filing that form would make them a part of the scheme, and thus draw them into support for abortions or abortion-related services.”

The Court blog notes:

“If the Little Sisters do make that substitute kind of notification, then the government, under the order, is barred from enforcing the mandate against them.   At no point in the case as it moves forward, the order stressed, are the Little Sisters required to file Form 700 with the government, or to send copies of it to the separate entity that operates their employee health benefit plan.”

Though seemingly a technicality, the order is a strong reminder that deeply held religious convictions are deep enough in some to fight the letter of the law when it violates the spirit of their faith.

The Little Sisters have made it clear that it is more important to them to live with a free conscience before the God they have vowed to serve that simply fill out what they see as complicit paperwork in a scheme to further abortion in the nation.

The temporary victory will remain in effect for the group until the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, based in Denver rules on their case.

Additionally, the Court blog states that:

“The ‘contraceptive mandate’ has been challenged in dozens of lawsuits across the country, by both religious entities like the Little Sisters, and profit-making business firms whose owners object, for religious reasons, to providing some of the ACA-mandated services for their workers.  The Court is reviewing the mandate this Term, as it applies to business firms.  It has not yet taken on for full review a case involving a religious entity.  Its order Friday marked the first time it had faced that part of the widespread controversy.”

The case of forced contraception, including abortifacient contraception, is far from over–as evidenced by a group of nuns with a childlike name and warrior spirit.



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