Thursday, September 28, 2023
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High Court Gives Nuns Obamacare Injunction

WASHINGTON (CN) - Four religious orders that object to the contraceptive mandate in health care reform won an injunction late Friday from the U.S. Supreme Court.

The suit was brought in Colorado this past fall by the Denver- and Baltimore-based chapters of Little Sisters of the Poor Home for the Aged, alongside the New Mexico-based Christian Brothers Service and the Christian Brothers Employee Benefit Trust.

They challenged a provision of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that requires employers to include contraceptive services in group health plans they provide to workers.

In addition to exempting churches and other religious employers from the mandate, the Obama administration provided an accommodation for nonprofit religious organizations.

The religious orders in this suit complained, however, that even filing the required form to claim that exemption violates their religious objections to providing contraceptive services.

On New Year's Eve, Justice Sonia Sotomayor temporarily enjoined the government from enforcing the contraceptive coverage requirements against the petitioners.

She followed up on that order Friday with an injunction.

It says that, to qualify for the injunction, the nuns and brothers must still inform the government "in writing that they are nonprofit organizations that hold themselves out as religious and have religious objections to providing coverage for contraceptive services."

They need not, however, "use the form prescribed by the government and need not send copies to third-party administrators."

The injunction remains pending until the 10th Circuit rules on the merits of the case.

Sotomayor added that the "order should not be construed as an expression of the court's views on the merits."

As with the December order, there was no dissent.

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