Supreme Court Extends Injunction for Religious Groups Regarding ACA
(CNN) — Some religious affiliated non-profits will remain temporarily exempt from requirements in the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, to cover birth control and other reproductive health coverage they oppose for religious reasons.
That is the result of a Supreme Court decision on Friday that extended an injunction for a Catholic charity run by nuns, the Little Sisters of the Poor.
The exemption stands while the case is being considered by the lower courts. It is a clear victory for the religious group and its insurer.
In a once-sentence order, the Supreme Court said the Obama administration could not enforce the requirement if the group tells the Health and Human Services Department in writing that it is a non-profit that holds “themselves out as religious and have religious objections to providing coverage for contraceptive services.”
Although the high order applies specifically to the Little Sisters of the Poor, which run several homes for the elderly nationwide, it will likely have the practical effect of keeping the federal government from forcing other religious non-profits that raised similar objections to comply with the mandate.
The mandates were designed by the administration to give women employed at nonprofit, religious-based organizations — such as certain hospitals and private faith-based universities– the ability to receive contraception through separate health policies with no co-pay.
The sticking point was a requirement those groups sign a government self-certificatioin form that would allow third-party administrators to provide the contraception coverage.
The White House had said the administration was confident the rules “strike the balance of providing women with free contraceptive coverage while preventing non-profit religious organizations with religious objections to contraceptive coverage from having to contract, arrange, pay, or refer for such coverage.”
But religious-based groups sought delays around the employer-contraception requirement, saying signing the form would force them “to choose between onerous penalties or becoming complicit in a grave moral wrong.”
The justices in their unsigned order concluded: “To meet the condition for injunction pending appeal, applicants need not use the form prescribed by the government and need not send copies to third-party administrators.”
The case is Little Sisters of the Poor v. Sebelius (13a691).
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